Fire Forces NY Power Plant Evac

Monday, April 11, 2016 @ 09:04 AM gHale


Cayuga power plant employees evacuated after a fire and heavy smoke struck the facility Wednesday morning.

Flames and thick black smoke were shooting from the plant’s smokestack before firefighters contained the blaze. Gray and black smoke was intermittently visible until noon.

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The fire appears to have ignited between the smokestack’s seventh and 12th floors, but exactly where the flames originated wasn’t clear, Tompkins County Emergency Response Director Lee Shurtleff said Wednesday afternoon. Early reports said a machine caught fire and the flames spread.

“The fire does not appear to be related to any of the generating equipment or to the power plant itself; it’s something that’s within the structure,” Shurtleff said.

The damage’s extent was not immediately known, he added.

There were no injuries in the incident, Tompkins County Emergency Response Communications Center Manager Christina Dravis said.

Reported around 10 a.m., the fire was under control within 90 minutes, Cayuga Operating Co. said in a news release. The fire broke out during routine maintenance of the plant’s Unit 2 turbine, which is one of the plant’s two turbines.

The incident is under investigation, the company added. Maintenance for the turbine unit was scheduled for completion by mid-May, but that schedule will now be re-evaluated after the investigation, officials said.

The power plant’s Unit 1 turbine remains functional, and the fire won’t close the power plant, Cayuga spokesman Bill Albert said.

After emergency responders contained the fire, the Town of Lansing Fire Department brought in additional firefighters, and the crews searched areas where the fire might have spread, Shurtleff said around noon.