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$1-Million Fire Hits DWP Plant Near County Line

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A spectacular fire that shot flames 100 feet into the air caused $1 million in damage Monday evening at a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plant near the Orange County line.

The fire, which sent a thick, black column of smoke into the air, broke out shortly after 7 p.m. in a transformer bank of the Haynes Generating Station. But customer service was not interrupted and there were no injuries reported, according to Mindy Berman of the DWP’s public affairs office.

“The transformer apparently overloaded because of the heat today,” said Bob Caldon, a Long Beach Fire Department spokesman. “There were a lot of air conditioners being used.”

Firefighters used heavy foam to to prevent the flames from reaching 6,000 gallons of lubricating oil. Workers moved hydrogen tanks out of the fire’s way.

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The 10-minute blaze was believed to have been contained in a transformer bank that increases voltage before sending electricity from the steam-powered facility to DWP customers.

“The most important thing is that no customers were affected,” Berman said. “We have the ability to switch over to other resources immediately.”

“We don’t know how it started,” she said. “We are certainly going to look into that.”

The Haynes Generating Station, located at 6801 Westminster Blvd., east of Studebaker Road, is about 30 years old and is one of four DWP plants that burn natural gas to produce steam, which produces electricity, Berman said.

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