Spectator injured during power plant demolition doing better

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Jerry Wood, the spectator severely injured by flying debris during Saturday's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power plant demolition in Bakersfield, has been upgraded to fair condition, Eyewitness News learned on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where the 43-year-old Wood remains, confirmed his status has improved from critical to a fair condition. However, the official is unable to specify the extent of his injuries, citing privacy concerns.

An initial police report stated Wood's legs had been severed at the scene, but family members said Monday that he had all of his limbs.

Wood, a Bakersfield resident, was part of a crowd standing in a shopping center parking lot off Coffee Road to view the planned implosion.

Moments later, Wood and four other spectators were injured when pieces of shrapnel flew into the crowd, which was beyond the designated safety distance of 1,000 feet, a length set by various agencies.

The other four spectators were not injured as severely as Wood.

The incident is under investigation by local and state agencies, including Cal/OSHA, which is currently investigating Covina-based Cleveland Wrecking, the company contracted directly by PG&E to conduct the demolition of the two Kern Power Plant boiler towers.

Lincoln-based Alpha Explosives, which was sub-contracted to handle the implosion, is also under investigation.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E, has announced its own investigation into the incident.