Jacksonville, FL - Florida Power and Light says its contractor notified the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department days in advance of Saturday’s implosion of the Cedar Bay plant in the Oceanway area, although new emails we’ve obtained show that notification may not have been as clear is should have been.
The weekend event shocked people living in the area, many of whom called 911 and non-emergency phone lines to Jacksonville Police.
JFRD and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reported at that time that they were not made aware of the planned implosion. JSO spokesperson Melissa Bujeda told our partner Action News Jax that officers were dispatched in reference to ‘some sort of unknown explosion.’ JFRD says they found out through calls.
FPL Statement: “... our contractor, DCI, notified the fire department on Tuesday, July 31 via email. In addition, they have a permit through the City that required approval from a number of other emergency responders, including the police department and the bomb squad...”— Ryan Nelson (@RyanANJax) August 5, 2018
WOKV requested the permit, which shows JFRD, JSO, the City’s General Counsel’s Office, and the City’s Risk Management Department all signed off on the plan between July 19th and 26th, although the date and time was not definitively set on the permit. Instead, the permit said it would be carried out the week of August 1st, and the contractor would notify when the final decision was made.
Emails between various parties, obtained by WOKV, shows a representative with the contractor mentioned the date in a July 31st email.
“Just a heads up that it’s looking like the event at FPL Cedar Bay will be occurring on Saturday at 8:00 am. Attached is a revised exclusion zone map. Our only concern is making sure that no one is in the zone along the river for the blast, all other land locations are covered by us and the adjacent Westrock’s security fences. Can you help us out or point us in the right direction to have some help clear the river for an hour or so for the event on Saturday?” says the email from a DEMCO, Inc. representative.
The receiving party within JFRD says he did not initially realize that the date was not in the original permit packet, and that this email was designed to serve as notification of the date of the event.
“I apologize for not informing anyone else since my original correspondence was to provide the company with the signed page. The original packet is still in my office because they have not sent a representative to come and pick it up yet. Once again, I am sorry if I should have reached out to someone,” says an August 5th email from a JFRD District Chief.
FPL further says the contractor spoke with JSO on August 1st to confirm no road closures would be needed. Emails from August 1st show JSO generally confirmed that no road closures were needed under the blasting permit. It does not comment on a specific date, but is included as part of the larger email chain, which also includes the initial note from DEMCO, Inc.
It caught many by surprise. A copy of the permit for the implosion at Cedar Bay Generating Plant was obtained by @ActionNewsJax. It shows reps for JSO and JFRD signed off on the permit. pic.twitter.com/OWSxfJUrIo— Christy Turner (@ChristyANJax) August 6, 2018
FPL says they also notified adjacent property owners.
“We apologize that some of the community was caught off-guard despite the notifications that were made,” says FPL Spokesperson Sarah Gatewood
FPL says they shut down Cedar Bay in early 2016, as one of three coal plants they’re closing, while investing in cleaner energy sources. With the implosion of the cooling tower, FPL says the remaining cleanup will take the next few weeks.
The other two plants are the St. Johns River Power Park, which JEA began demolishing earlier this summer, and a small coal co-generation plant in Indiantown , Martin County.