Transformer Blast at PA Gas Plant

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 @ 09:09 AM gHale


A fire raged at a Lehigh Valley natural gas power plant for hours after a transformer explosion sparked the blaze at the facility Sunday, officials said.

The transformer exploded just after 8 p.m. at Talen Energy’s Lower Mount Bethel power plant along Depues Ferry Road in Lower Mount Bethel Township, PA, Northampton County emergency dispatchers said.

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Photos posted by people living near the plant, which sits next to the Delaware River, showed intense flames and thick black smoke billowing into the air.

Firefighters had to stay back from the fire because of electrocution concerns when they first arrived on scene. They were spraying fire-retardant foam on the blaze from afar, officials said.

The fire ended up contained to the transformer on the plant’s grounds and was brought under control around 10:10 p.m. said Northampton County dispatchers.

The plant burns natural gas to produce electricity, according to Talen’s website. Officials said the generation facility is not burning.

There were no reports of injuries and residents were not evacuated.

Todd Martin, a spokesman for Talen Energy, said the plant was completely shut down and would remain closed for the foreseeable future. Martin said there was no danger to the public or employees.

“[It] will take time to investigate and evaluate to ensure whatever has happened will not happen again,” he said. “An investigation is ongoing into what caused the units involved to stop operation tonight.”