According to Deputy Fire Marshall Al Santostefano, Kleen Energy had informed Steve Kroll, the fire marshall of the South Fire District, that purging of gas pipes at the plant would occur on Sunday February 7, rescheduled from earlier in the week.
Krol had been present at least once previously during a gas pipe purge. According to Santostefano, there are no statutes or regulations that require a fire marshall to be present during gas line purges. Krol attended the pipe purges "as a courtesy," Santostefano said.
Santostefano said that on Sunday, due to an illness, Krol delayed his observation of the purge. Initially Krol planned to be at the plant early Sunday, but put off his arrival until later in the day. For Krol, the delay proved fortunate.
"Would it have made any difference if Stevie was there?" Santostefano asked rhetorically. "Probably not. There's nothing in our book that sets up standards for this kind of operation."
Santostefano said that Krol had informed members of the South District Fire Department that purging was going to take place so that when the alarm came in, "there was a heads-up that it probably had something to do with the purging."
Santostefano also denied allegations which appeared in Wednesday's Hartford Courant that O&G employees have been allowed access to the site where an investigation is taking place.
"Investigators have kept everyone out of the area they are investigating," Santostefano said. "I can't even get in. O&G employees are outside of the plant clearing an access road of debris covering the road as a result of the blast because they had equipment they needed to move in and out on that road."