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Worker hurt in explosion at MacDowell Colony

  • Firefighters check water pipes at the side of the main building at the MacDowell Colony after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Firefighters check water pipes at the side of the main building at the MacDowell Colony after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Firefighters gather outside the MacDowell Colony's main building on Tuesday after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Firefighters gather outside the MacDowell Colony's main building on Tuesday after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Firefighters respond to an explosion in the basement of the MacDowell Colony headquarters that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

    Firefighters respond to an explosion in the basement of the MacDowell Colony headquarters that injured a man installing a propane burner.

    (Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

  • Firefighters check water pipes at the side of the main building at the MacDowell Colony after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Firefighters gather outside the MacDowell Colony's main building on Tuesday after responding to an explosion in the basement that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Firefighters respond to an explosion in the basement of the MacDowell Colony headquarters that injured a man installing a propane burner.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — A worker installing a propane furnace in the basement of the MacDowell Colony headquarters on High Street was hospitalized Tuesday after being burned in an explosion.

Peterborough Fire Chief Joseph Lenox said the man, identified as Robert Keiser, 47, suffered second-degree burns to the face, hands and arm and was taken by ambulance to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.

Firefighters were called to the colony at 1:16 p.m., Lenox said. When they arrived, the basement smelled of gas. Firefighters removed the injured worker and shut off power and gas lines into the building, which was evacuated.

Lenox said the explosion blew off the sprinkler head on the system in the basement and the basement flooded with water. Smoke detectors were also activated. He said there was no significant damage to the upper levels of the building and the water on the basement’s cement floor could be easily contained.

Firefighters from Jaffrey were called to assist.

Lenox said State Fire Marshal Keith Rodenhiser was on the scene and conducting an investigation.

David Macy, the MacDowell Colony’s resident director, said the building has a wood pellet heating system and the propane burner was being installed as a backup.

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