Boiler blast cuts heat to Grand Rapids buildings

The Associated Press

Grand Rapids – A boiler explosion at a steam plant cut off heat to buildings in downtown Grand Rapids, prompting a hospital to send emergency patients elsewhere.

Authorities say the blast occurred late Monday at Veolia Energy, where several windows were blown out. Firefighters say the boiler malfunctioned. A plant employee was uninjured, but taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation.

The plant produces steam which heats and cools about 130 buildings in the city’s downtown area, including the city hall and courthouse.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital diverted emergency patients to other hospitals Tuesday and canceled non-emergency surgeries while it awaited a full return of heating. The hospital said no evacuations were necessary.

Veolia general manager Perry Alburg later said the plant’s “system is safe and reliable.”