Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Salem Power Plant Explosion

It was only three guys. Three working stiffs that no one ever  heard of, other than their family, friends, and co-workers. Just three guys.

But they went to work on Tuesday figuring, I'm sure, that they were  heading into another day of same old/same old. Except, maybe for the  new guy, the kid. Only 20 years old, Matthew Indeglia had been on the job only one full day. Tuesday was his second day at work.

Looking around at the fellows he was working with that day - Phillip Robinson and Mark Mansfield, Matthew might have been thinking that he had it made. Those guys had been working at the Salem (Massachusetts) Harbor Power Plant for twenty or so years.  A lifetime. Matthew Indeglia's twenty year lifetime, in fact.

These were good job. Pay the mortgage, feed the kids, vacation at Hampton Beach, 'how about that kid Papelbon' kind of jobs. The blue collar, lunch bucket jobs that have gone so far away, most guys would count themselves lucky to have them.

Well, on Tuesday a boiler blew, and these three regular guys were killed in what can only be imagined as a hideous and painful death. And they didn't die instantly. No, they had to suffer for a while - the accident was in the morning and they all died overnight.

I have been by the Salem Harbor Power Plant many times. My sister lives in Salem, and the plant is on the way to The Willows, a throw-back little park with fried dough stands,; arcades with everything from skee-ball, to virtual car racing, to wack-a-mole, to the 10 cent monkey band; hot dogs, ice cream, and salt water taffy at Howe's; a few tawdry kiddie rides; and the world's most difficult to dismount merry-go-round. It's also go shaded picnic groves, a bandstand where they have corny concerts in the summer, and a scabby little beach.

In other words, The Willows is absolutely marvelous.

I can imagine that The Willows is the kind of place that the two older guys might have taken their kids. When they went by the power plant, the kids would have said "That's where Daddy works." And everyone in the car would have been proud.

I can imagine that The Willows is the kind of place that young Matthew Indeglia might have taken a date next summer. You see them there all the time. Young couples with cotton candy and the cheap junk you win with the tickets you accumulate in the arcades.

It's easy to take things like our power supply for granted, but keeping it going can be dangerous work.

One good thing about the switch to a more techno and services oriented economy is that a lot of the dangerous jobs go away.

Sure, white collar folks can get killed on the job - generally this happens when a colleague goes postal. But there's nothing inherently dangerous about most of the work we do.

Not so for those who work in plants. Who work on power lines. Who fish, who farm, who put out fires.There's a lot of risky business out there that doesn't involve hedge funds and subprime lending, carpal tunnel syndrome and screen fatigue.

Sad day for the folks at Salem Harbor Power Plant.

Three guys with pretty good jobs just got very, very unlucky.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know about Mr. Robinson but I can tell you much about Mark Mansfield. I just found it interesting that someone would blog about this event and come up with a pretty good picture. You are very close to what kind of person Mark Mansfield was. I can tell you this though.....Mark Mansfield was no ordinary individual. Matter of fact, since his death, I have reflected on all my memories of my good friend Mark Mansfield and I am now incorporating his outlook on life into my own. I want to be remembered in a similar way as he was and that was....to live life to the fullest. Truly, I don't believe the man had a single enemy. I've never seen him without a smile even when he was aggravated about something. I met Mark Mansfield when I did home health aide work at his next door neighbor's home. He had taken in a friend who was injured and was struggling at the time because of his injury, he couldn't work. I ended up meeting the friend that lived with him. Mark is infamously recognized for his convertible stingray corvette. I had my first date with that friend. That friend that lived with him is now my husband. My husband and Mark were like brothers and they lived together. My husband changed his baby's diapers. To my husband that is an honor he relishes to this day. Mark had a motto and that was this...I'm not going to be here for a long time but while I'm here I'm going to have a good time. He was right and he truly knew what many fail to recognize. Believe it or not, Mark lived his life very, very full and if I know Mark and I asked him if he had any regrets...he would say no...everyone loved him...and he had a good time and everyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting him...was blessed...and probably has a nice memory of him. I know I have many of them and not one single image of Mark is he not smiling. He truly has made an incredible impact in my life. I will never forget the last time I saw him and how he showered me with hugs and kisses because he hadn't seen each other since my wedding day. I will cherish that forever like you can't even imagine. I wanted to share some insider information with you on Mark Mansfield. I know you didn't know him or the guys you blogged about. You are probably right...I can guarantee that he did take his girls to the Willows. Heck, he probably took "T" (his wife Christina/Tina & my pet name for her) to the Willows on many dates when they first met. Mark lived in Salem his whole life. My husband met him in 2nd grade and they never stopped being friends since that time. I can't even tell you the memories my husband has of this most wonderful human being we have ever had the honor of being part of his life. He will never, ever be forgotten. A huge chunk is missing out of all our friends and families lives because my husband & I are also friends with the in-laws family from his wife's side. His brother-in-law was his friend first. Two friends, ended up marrying sisters. They met at the halloween party but her sister was already married to his friend. Thanks for a nice story. Dianne.Johnson@ametek.com

Anonymous said...

Rest Easy Matt
I'll Never Forget You

Brothermanwazzup said...

Thank You Diane for those true kind words about Brother Mark Mansfield AKA Ozzy One would have look far and hard to find a better person then him!Alittle about Brother Phil Robinson AKA Sharky
he did alot of behind the seen things to help a brother or sister
Sharky had a big heart also and did alot for those with so little and wasn't a glory seeker never had a bad thing to say about anyone.Ozzy and Sharky would give You the shirt right off their backs! Unfortunately I never had a oppertunity to meet Brother Matt
rest in peace Brothers and may I please have the chance to see You on the other side some day!

Erica Indeglia said...

Rest easy Mathew we love and miss you.