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Chemical fire at hydroelectric plants leads to 5 deaths

The LA Times reported that five workers survived the intial chemical fire at a hydorelectric plant in Colorado Tuesday, but died before rescue workers reached them.

Nine workers of RPI Coating of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., were sealing the inside of a pipe at Xcel Corp.'s Cabin Creek power plant in Georgetown Colorado to prevent corrosion around 2 p.m. when chemical fire ignited.

Five of the workers were trapped 1, 500 feet underground. Authorities had made contact with those trapped, 45 minutes after the fire and they said they were uhurt. Air tanks and breathing masks were dropped down to the workers while rescuers waited to enter the pipe, authorities said.

When rescue workers were able to reach them hours later though, they were dead.

Four other workers under the fire were able to escape and were taken to a nearby-Denver hospital, Clear Creek County undersheriff Stu Nay said.

Investigators for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board were working Wednesday to figure out how the workers died. Officials have yet to retrieve the bodies because they are awaiting air quality tests Fox News reported.

The names of the victims have yet to be released as officials are waiting for all families to be informed first.

"We're devastated over the loss," said RPI Coating spokesman Marc Dyer. "They were very experienced guys. They were some of our best."