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Small fire at power plant; large outage in Fairbanks

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 5:14 pm | Updated: 1:34 pm, Fri Mar 15, 2013.

Updated with information from the Golden Valley Electric Association.

Power was restored by 5:20 p.m. Thursday night.  The outage lasted one hour and three minutes and  2,615 members were affected.

 

FAIRBANKS — Traffic lights in downtown Fairbanks were working again Thursday evening after a fire ignited and was contained at the Aurora Power Plant on First Avenue.

The fire, reported about 4 p.m., broke out in the older half of the power plant, according to plant owner Aurora Energy and the Fairbanks Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

Plant operators believe the fire was electrical, Aurora President Buki Wright said. High winds blew out a piece of blue foam insulation in the window of an unused office earlier in the day, causing a sprinkler head to freeze and start spraying water that leaked onto electrical equipment and caused it to short out, he said.

Workers repaired the frozen sprinkler. However, “shortly later, something electrical popped and we had a very small fire that came about because of that,” he said.

Operators are trying to determine what piece of equipment caused the fire, he said.

Both the new and old halves of the plant went off-line. The newer section was producing electricity Thursday evening and workers were working on getting the older section running again, he said.

Deputy Fire Marshal Kyle Green with the Fairbanks Fire Department said no one was injured in the fire.

Golden Valley Electric Association reported a “large” power outage in the area on its information line, though there was no official connection between the power plant fire and the outage.

Phone calls to GVEA requesting information about when power would be restored to all customers were not immediately returned Thursday evening. However, based on traffic lights, power had been restored to at least some areas in downtown.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime.

 

 

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