Blast sends rock flying into Ketchikan neighborhood

Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010

KETCHIKAN - A scheduled blast at a Ketchikan construction site sent rock flying into a neighborhood, punching holes in houses and shattering windows.

Tom Miller / Ketchikan Daily News
Tom Miller / Ketchikan Daily News

No one was injured in the mishap at around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The work was at a Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Division site. The division is replacing a wooden tank built in 1973 with a 750,000-gallon concrete tank.

Southeast Earthmovers, owned by Jon McGraw, is the contractor in charge of site preparation, said Water Division manager John Kleinegger. Company officials could not be reached.

Rock shot south along Jackson Street, breaking windows in homes and a car and damaging siding at several homes. One house had a hole the size of a small cannonball.

Some rock flew west, showering down on roofs, including the First Assembly of God Church, said its pastor, the Rev. John Braten.

"There was fly rock that punched holes in houses and there were a few broken windows," said Kleinegger. "Thank God there's traffic control so we don't let people walk through during a blast."

The contractor is insured, Kleinegger said.

City and utility employees used brooms and shovels to pick up rocks and dirt from streets and driveways.

Kleinegger said the city informed state Occupational Safety and Health officials about the incident. The blast Tuesday was at least the 45th at the project, he said. He did not see evidence that blast-absorbing mats were used.

Blasting will be suspended during an investigation of the incident, he said.

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