On 7 February, 2010, an explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, Connecticut killed five workers and left many more injured. The blast, which took place during a test of natural gas lines running through the nearly finished facility, could be felt and heard by residents for miles.

Faced with the task of searching the heavily-damaged plant, responders quickly went into action. Personnel from Middletown’s Office of Emergency Management and the state’s Department of Public Health set up two of DHS System’s DRASH shelters to support efforts.

Rescue workers organised and executed operations from a 249 square foot DRASH 3XB Shelter, which, booted to a fire command vehicle, served as an incident command post at the scene of the explosion. Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell also received her first briefing inside the command post.

Nearby, workers were briefed inside a 413 square foot DRASH 6XB Shelter. The shelter was later converted to sleeping quarters for responders who remained on site overnight.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health purchased the DRASH shelters in 2005 as part of the Ottilie W. Lundgren Mobile Field Hospital, the first state field hospital in the country. Since then, responders have used parts of the 14,000 square foot hospital during emergencies and exercises across the state.