“We are looking into what happened,” Cherie Jacobs, a Tampa Electric spokeswoman, said in an interview. “There are few details.”
Mr. Dierdorff said about 7 p.m. that the situation was under control and that all other workers had been accounted for. Unit 2 was shut down after the accident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that investigates workplace accidents, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment on Thursday night.
The agency levied a $25,200 fine in 1999 against Tampa Electric, which is a division of TECO Energy, for serious safety violations at the Gannon Power Station, another plant in Hillsborough County that now operates under a new name. The safety violations led to an explosion that killed three people and injured dozens more. In 2000, the company paid a $7,000 fine by O.S.H.A. in connection to an electrocution and $3,375 for violations related to the housekeeping of coal at Big Bend Power Station.
The Big Bend Power Station sits on about 1,500 acres off a road by the same name on a swath of waterfront land in Hillsborough County, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Tampa. It is among the largest plants in Florida, producing more than 1,700 megawatts of electricity.
The first of its four coal-fired units began service in 1970, according to the company. The second unit, where the accident occurred, went online in 1973. A natural gas and “fuel oil-fired peaking unit” was added eight years ago.
The plant also features a “Manatee Viewing Center” that The Tampa Bay Times said is a popular stop among tourists who can see the station’s towering stacks from almost anywhere in the city.
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