SPOKANE, Wash. — Two employees of Spokane’s Waste-to-Energy Plant were in critical condition after they were burned by steam on Tuesday morning.

The two men were in one of the trash incinerator’s boilers, the Spokesman-Review reported. Their identities were not released.

Other employees witnessed the incident from a monitoring room above the incinerator, city officials said. The injured workers had been repairing a pinhole in one of the metal pipes that carry superheated water through the facility.

“Both employees were inside of a boiler,” Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said. “They were doing routine maintenance, something that’s been done innumerable times in the past, for years. And a piece of very molten, hot remnants . vaporized with water and caused the burns.”

Employees performed first aid and rushed the injured workers into a cold shower before paramedics arrived and treated them on scene, he said.

The workers were taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

“This is a devastating day for the city of Spokane,” Mayor David Condon said.

Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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