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WJBD - Local News - Electrical Box Explosion Shuts Down Gilster Mary Lee Plant In Centralia; Plant to Resume Normal Operations Wednesday Morning

Centralia Fire officials review electrical problems outside the Gilster Mary Lee Plant in Centralia Tuesday night. Plant officials hope to resume full operations on first shift Wednesday morning. Photo by Mitchell Schultheis.

Electrical Box Explosion Shuts Down Gilster Mary Lee Plant In Centralia; Plant to Resume Normal Operations Wednesday Morning

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

An electrical overload at the Gilster Mary Lee Plant in Centralia is believed to have caused a loud explosion sound when several large fuses blew Tuesday night.   Assistant Plant Superintendent Charles Mattmiller reports company electricians brought in from Cester determined the problem was a weak breaker.  It has now been replaced and the plant will resume operations on first shift at 7:45 Wednesday morning.

While there was no actual fire, a portion of the first floor of the building filled with electrical smoke and the plant had to be shutdown. There were no injuries.  The 80 employees on the second shift were all evacuated from the building and eventually sent home for the evening.  All but the supervisors and technicians on the third shift were later told not to report to work as repairs were made overnight.   

Centralia City Firemen say Ameren disconnected power until the problem could be determined.   Firemen ventilated smoke from the building.  Three extra firemen were called in to help.  

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