UPDATE: One Priest Rapids Dam Explosion Victim Released from Hos - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: One Priest Rapids Dam Explosion Victim Released from Hospital

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UPDATE SUNDAY 10:37 PM:

MATTAWA, WA-  One of the 6 workers injured earlier this week in an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam has been released from the hospital.

A Harborview Medical Center spokesperson says one other worker has also been upgraded from critical to serious condition, but is still in the intensive care unit.

Another victim is still in critical, two others are in satisfactory condition. None of the workers have been identified.

A Grant PUD spokesperson says an electrical equipment malfunction is to blame for the explosion near Mattawa.

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TO DONATE: If you are interested in contributing to the injured employees and their families, Granco Credit Union has set up a support fund to help cover the costs of meals, places to stay and their transportation to and from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 

You can send your donation to: 

Granco Credit Union, PO Box 127 Ephrata, Washington 98823

-or- 

You can drop it off in person: 

217 Alder St. SW Ephrata Washington 98823

Be sure to mark all donations, "Priest Rapids Family Fund"

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UPDATE: EPHRATA, WA The Grant County Public Utility District says as of 8 a.m. on Friday, one of the six injured in an electrical equipment failure in the powerhouse at Priest Rapids Dam has been released from the hospital.

They say two others remain in critical condition and Harborview Medical Center and three remain in satisfactory condition.

Grant County PUD says the employees are power plant electricians and operators. They are not releasing their names or any personal details.

"This is a difficult day for everyone here at Grant PUD. We are all concerned for our co-workers who were injured yesterday and are doing everything we can to show them our support in this difficult time. Our primary focus will continue to be taking care of our people," said CFO and Acting General Manager Kevin Nordt.

Grant County PUD says the electrical equipment failure was isolated to one of the ten generating units at the dam. The dam is still stable and operating. They say the public is safe.

Investigators from Labor and Industries will be on the site today to perform a thorough evaluation of events leading up to and causing the explosion.  Results may take weeks. 

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GRANT COUNTY, WA -  Officials with the Grant Public Utility District say six employees have been injured in an explosion at Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River. 

Utility district spokesman Thomas Stredwick says the employees were injured Thursday afternoon in an explosion attributed to electrical equipment at the dam in Central Washington near Mattawa.

Staff at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland says four of the men injured were initially taken to Kadlec but were later transferred to Harborview in Seattle.

"Our goal is to take care of the patients and any family members of those patients that come our way. And obviously since there's mileage involved for transportation and not knowing where the loved ones of the patients may come from, we want to make crystal clear sure that if they're being transported, wherever they're going, that we have personnel on hand to be able to communicate with them," says Jim Hall, Kadlec Regional Medical Center.

Staff at Harborview in Seattle say a 58-year-old man is currently in satisfactory condition, two other men in their 40's are critical in intensive care. Another man who was being driven from Kadlec to Harborview is listed in satisfactory. All the patients at Harborview are being treated for burn injuries. We are still waiting to hear the conditions of the other 2 patients.

Grant PUD officials say their first priority is taking care of their employees and securing the area before starting the investigation.

"It's just very preliminary right now we're trying to determine what caused the incident, and also working to help the employees who suffered the injuries and their families at this time," says Chuck Allen, Grant PUD Public Affairs.

"Before we do anything, we need to figure out what caused it. So we isolate the area, put the unit in a safe condition, then we'll sit back and figure out how to approach the investigation so we make sure we do it thoroughly. We'll probably start the investigation tomorrow," says Kevin Marshall, Director of Hydro, Grant PUD.

Stredwick says the structure of the dam is stable and no one down the river is at risk.

Multiple agencies responded to the incident including the Hanford Fire Department.

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At approximately 4:15 p.m. today an explosion was reported at Priest Rapids Dam along the Columbia River just south of Mattawa, according to Grant County PUD.

At this point there are multiple injuries and emergency personnel are en route to assist.

Grant County PUD is now saying 6 injuries from explosion at Priest Rapids Dam.

Utility district spokesman Thomas Stredwick says the employees were injured in a possible electrical explosion at the dam. The six have various levels of injuries with some flown to area hospitals and others transported by ambulance for treatment.
    
Stredwick says the structure of the dam is stable and no one down the river is at risk.
    
The cause of the explosion is also unknown.

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