17 May 2010 – Babcock employee, Shigamani Paul Hobo, 41, a boiler maker contracted to work at Lethabo power station in Vereeneging was killed in a fire at the plant this weekend. The fire also caused nine people to be hospitalized and twenty-five have suffered injuries.
South Africa’s utility stated in a briefing on Sunday that the cause of the fire is still unknown. Shireen Prince, plant manager, said a leaking valve was being replaced during plant maintenance operation when the incident happened at about 1:30pm on Saturday.
"A fact finding and information gathering process is under way at Eskom’s Lethabo power station," she said.
Eskom spokesperson, Andrew Etzinger, said that the incident happened at the sulphur dioxide plant, where the fine ash is filtered off and air is cleaned before it is released into the atmosphere. He also said an investigation would get underway as soon as possible, but for now it was important to make sure the power station was safe and secure.
The incident was limited to the SO3 plant, which was undergoing maintenance operations, therefore the power supply to the national grid will not be affected.