ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The search continues for a missing worker at a collapsed Progress Energy building on Weedon Island.
Clark White, 65, from Moundsville, West Virginia was trapped beneath 60 feet of rubble after a planned collapse of he Paul L. Bartow Power Plant on Weedon Island went awry Thursday.
Hopes of finding him alive faded over the weekend.
Owned by Progress Energy, the building at 1601 Weedon Island Dr. was built in the 50's, and has been offline for a year. The electric company was in the process of dismantling it.
As part of that effort, crews Thursday planned to demolish boiler number 3. The boiler section was a 180-foot structure with a 10,000 square foot base, which accounted for approximately 25 percent of the overall plant structure. This was the first boiler dismantlement to be performed as part of the project.
That process involved cutting steel beams that hold it up with the idea that it would collapse on itself.
According to a statement released by Progress Energy, the crew was preparing for a controlled collapse, scheduled to occur at around 8:30 p.m. The collapse began instead around 7:15 p.m.
Progress Energy Spokesperson Suzanne Grant said 21 people were on site at the time of the collapse, including 13 contractors and 8 employees.
White, the trapped contractor, works for Buffalo, NY-based Frontier Industrial Corporation, a demolishing company. They say he was the only person in the building at the time of the collapse.
White served 34 years in Army before becoming a welder in the demolition industry. He has worked with Frontier Industrial Corporation for 8 years, and nearing the end of his working days.
"He was getting ready to retire. He was going to leave in December," said his daughter, Paige. "I'm so worried about him, I don't know what to do."
Lt. Joel Granata with St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue says there are approximately 25-30 rescuers on a rotating schedule working with search dogs. By Friday night, efforts were being concentrated on an specific area of 28 x 20, where rescuers believe there are many pockets of air and void spaces. Workers are removing layers of debris in the area by hand.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the gentleman trapped in this terrible accident and his family," said David Sorrick, vice president of power generation for Progress Energy Florida. "At this time we are solely focused on assisting first responders in their rescue effort."
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