8 reach $16M settlement in Wis. utility explosion

A lawyer representing eight people hurt in a 2009 explosion at a Milwaukee-area power plant says his clients have reached a $16 million settlement.

Attorney Timothy S. Trecek (TRECH'-ik) announced the agreement Thursday, the two-year anniversary of the explosion. Defendants included Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and contractor U.S. Fire Protection Inc.

The explosion occurred at a coal-fired power plant in suburban Milwaukee. A silo exploded into flames, sending four people to hospitals with second- and third-degree burns and blasting others against a wall.

Trecek says the defendants were negligent because coal dust in the silo wasn't removed as required before workers entered to do construction.

A We Energies spokesman says the utility wasn't responsible for the explosion or plaintiffs' injuries. A message left with the contractor wasn't immediately returned Thursday.