COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — An explosion at the Goodwill Industries commercial laundry here Thursday morning blew out a wall and scattered debris as far as 600 feet away but caused no injuries, officials report.
The full-service industrial laundry, which can process 10 million pounds of laundry annually, employs developmentally and physically disabled people who are assisted in their work by trained rehabilitation staff.
A boiler water treatment tank in the facility’s mechanical room exploded around 9 a.m., according to Melissa Lyby, Goodwill’s director of public relations. Staff immediately called 9-1-1 and evacuated all employees. Approximately 30 people were reportedly working in the building at the time of the explosion, which produced steam but no flames.
“The tank keeps the boiler water clean,” explains Lyby. “A floater went into the vent, causing pressure to build and build.”
State officials had inspected the laundry’s equipment in late January or early February, and the Colorado Springs Fire Department inspected the equipment less than two weeks ago. A Denver company specializing in commercial laundry equipment sales and maintenance also performed an energy audit there recently.
Goodwill says it’s doing what it can immediately to begin the cleanup process, and the laundry is utilizing its contingency plan to maintain operations. It’s using laundries at The Broadmoor, a five-star resort hotel located nearby, and a cooperative laundry in Pueblo, Colo., during night shifts this week.
“There has been no disruption in service,” Lyby says. “We hope to back in our facility early next week.”
The Goodwill facility in Colorado Springs provides laundry services under contract to military, hospitality and medical facilities. It counts Evans Army Community Hospital in Fort Carson, Colo.; the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo; and the Veterans Administration Medical Centers in Pueblo, Denver and Cheyenne, Wyo., among its business clients.