updated 1/8/2007 11:45:43 AM ET 2007-01-08T16:45:43

An explosion killed one person and injured about a dozen others Monday at a coal-burning power plant in southeastern Ohio, utility officials said.

The blast occurred as workers were unloading hydrogen gas used as a coolant for steam generators at the Muskingum River plant, but it was not clear what exploded, said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power, based in Columbus.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks had said earlier that a boiler exploded but it was unclear if that was the case.

“A spark triggered an explosion of some type while a truck was being unloaded. We’re not able to say if the truck exploded or a boiler exploded,” he said.

The blast happened about 9:20 a.m. at the plant where 210 people work.

At least six people injured at the plant were sent to hospitals in nearby Marietta and Parkersburg, W.Va., hospital officials said.

AEP is one of the nation’s largest power generators, with more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

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