State fines Grant County PUD over dam explosion

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Grant County Public Utility District #2 has been fined $35,000 for safety violations following an explosion at its Priest Rapids Dam near the town of Beverly last October.

Six workers were hospitalized with serious electrical burns.

The state Department of Labor & Industries on Wednesday said the workers were troubleshooting a mechanical problem with a generator. The workers did not know that a circuit had been re-energized when they closed a breaker, which caused the electrical arc flash explosion.

The state concluded that the arc flash could have been prevented.

The agency cited the utility district for five serious violations, each with the maximum penalty of $7,000.

The utility district has 15 days to appeal the citation.