TAMPA, April 12, 1999
The past week has been one of great challenge to the employees at Tampa Electric, and to our community's emergency response and treatment facilities. The accident that occurred at our Gannon Power Station was a tragedy for everyone involved.
But, it is only in the face of crisis that we can best know the heroes among us. We want to recognize and thank all of them for their support and their valor under the most difficult circumstances.
We recognize, first and foremost, Ed Barker, Johnny Bass, and Kevin Smith, three outstanding men who lost their lives in the accident. We extend our sympathy and gratitude to their families, and we all mourn their passing.
We also recognize those who were injured during the tragedy, and especially the two men who are still hospitalized. The prayers of the entire TECO Energy family are with them.
We thank the employees who immediately following the explosion went to the aid of their injured co-workers at great personal risk.
We have tremendous pride in our company's 3,000 employees who worked tirelessly to assist the families of those injured, to communicate with our customers and to restore order and service to the Gannon plant. It is with great respect that we also thank employees who, on their own, organized a blood drive and established a memorial fund for the family of the employee who was fatally injured in the explosion.
We appreciate the Tampa Electric and TECO Energy employees who put forth a tremendous effort around-the-clock until Gannon Units 1, 2 and 3 were on line to help us meet our customers' needs during this unusually warm spring weather. All of our employees pitched in to keep our system running smoothly so that service to our customers continued during the Gannon accident and shutdown.
We thank the community emergency response and treatment facilities, particularly the Hillsborough County emergency officials and the excellent staffs of our local hospitals for their fast reaction.
We also thank Florida's other utilities for their operational and personal support.
While we know the cause of the accident at Gannon station was a hydrogen explosion, we do not know the precise sequence of events. We are conducting a thorough investigation and assisting local and federal safety officials in determining the details. The procedures we have in place for this kind of maintenance are rigorous and specific, but in this case those procedures may not have been followed.
Our employees have achieved excellent safety records and are committed to the rigorous safety practices that must be in place in a plant that produces electricity.
The aftermath of the Gannon tragedy will long be with us. But so too will be the reminder of the heroic people who pulled together in a crisis and showed the kind of dedication that helps unite us as a community.
Thank you again for everything you've done to support us during a difficult time. It's a privilege to serve all of you.
Tampa Electric is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc. TECO Energy is a diversified, energy-related utility holding company also based in Tampa. In addition to Tampa Electric, its principal businesses include Peoples Gas, TECO Coal, TECO Transport, TECO Coalbed Methane, TECO Power Services, and Bosek Gibson and Associates.
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TECO Energy, Inc.
702 N. Franklin Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
Tampa Electric is an Emera company.
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