Two of the four Peoria firefighters injured after an APS battery exploded in Surprise on Friday evening have been released from the hospital, officials say.
Firefighters Jake Ciulla and Matt Cottini were discharged Friday and Saturday respectively, according to posts from the Peoria Fire-Medical Twitter account. Captain Hunter Clare and Engineer Justin Lopez remain under observation at Maricopa Medical Center.
Officials said Lopez suffered the worst injuries from the blast, but he is expected to eventually recover.
“Engineer Justin Lopez is awake and doing as well as can be expected,” the department’s Twitter account posted Sunday morning. “He was very anxious until his wife Sara came in the room.”
The social media account also said Clare was in “great spirits” after undergoing a successful surgery. It didn’t say how much longer the two would remain hospitalized.
The four Peoria firefighters were joined by four firefighters from the Surprise Fire Department after responding to a call about 6 p.m. on Friday about smoke rising from the APS McMicken Energy Storage facility near Grand Avenue and Deer Valley Road.
The Peoria firefighters were evaluating the lithium battery when there was an explosion that left the firefighters with chemical and chemical-inhalation burns, according to Mike Selmer, a spokesman for the Peoria Fire Department.
Battalion Chief Julie Moore, a spokeswoman for the Surprise Fire Department, said the Surprise firefighters were evaluated at a hospital but didn’t suffer any injuries.
The facility contains a utility-scaled battery to store and distribute solar energy, according to APS’ website.
Annie DeGraw, a spokeswoman for APS, said the company didn’t have any updates on what caused the fire or an estimate on how long the investigation would take on Saturday afternoon.
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