Plant Keeps Working During Blaze

Monday, February 15, 2016 @ 09:02 AM gHale

A fire Feb. 7 at the KCP&L Sibley Generating Station drew response from a half-dozen fire departments, but the plant kept producing power.

The fire was in a coal containment structure at the plant, said John Yocum, chief of the Fort Osage Fire Protection District.

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The building where the fire occurred had 10 employees, Yocum said, and while some had to continue with essential functions during the fire, they were all in safe locations. There were no injuries in the incident.

Because of the nature of the fire, Yocum called for multiple departments to assist because it required quite a few firefighters to get the necessary equipment in place.

“It’s quite a few stories high, and the structure was at least 50 percent full of coal,” Yocum said. “Working in a hazard environment, going up multiple flights of stairs – that’s why we had so many stations.”

“We’ve had similar-type fires at other places. You fill the container with water and put out the conveyor belts and other flammable areas – just saturate the coal.”

Plant employees were offloading the coal when firefighters left the scene, he said.

The two generating units at the coal-fired Sibley plant in Kansas City, MO, went into service in 1960 and 1962, respectively. Early last year, KCP&L released plans to stop burning coal at Sibley by the end of 2019. That means the Sibley plant will either end up retired or converted to a different power source, officials said on the company website.

Yocum said his full crew responded at 1:37 p.m., the fire was under control in 1 1/2 hours, and firefighters left the scene at about 4:30. Crews from Central Jackson County, Sni-Valley, Liberty, Wellington-Napoleon and Lexington assisted.

Cause of the fire remains under investigation.