Local News

Drake utilities employees getting paid while plant is shutdown

Drake workers still getting paid

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - There's too much fire damage for workers to return to the Drake Power Plant on Tuesday (5/6/14), but they are getting paid.

Colorado Springs Utilities says employees had Tuesday and Wednesday off with pay. A few supervisors at the plant were working on Tuesday helping firefighters assess the damage.

The fire is out, but firefighters continued to check the roof of the drake power plant Tuesday afternoon to figure out what went wrong.

"I just woke up this morning wondering if I was going to work," said scaffolding builder Vincent O'Donnell.

O'Donnell was working as a contractor Monday when the plant caught on fire.

"Everybody dropped everything and ran. So all of our tools, harnesses, ladder material, still left in there," he said.

O'donnell and the rest of his co-workers can't work any other jobs without those tools.

"We lost a job. We lost an account as of right now. Hopefully, everything gets rolling soon again, but it's definitely an inconvenience for everybody to just dispersed and misplaced for a while," said O'Donnell.

While firefighters worked with plant supervisors on Tuesday, most employees were sitting tight waiting for a call, but Springs Utilities is paying them while they wait.

"We're putting together plans to ensure that we have a place for our employees and the work that needs to be done in order to start planning for the facility to come back online," said John Romero, General Manager of Energy Services for Colorado Springs Utilities.

"From what I've been told, that was a very, very serious situation. It could've been far worse. It's just another example of the professionalism of our public safety and our utilities people," said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach.

Only two people were hurt in the fire. The fire department says both are okay. 

"You just kind of realize how close it is sometimes. Whether it be an accident at work or a car accident or whatever," said O'Donnell.

Springs Utilities says it hopes to get everyone back to work at other facilities by Thursday (5/8/14).

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