No one was injured Wednesday during a fire that shut down Unit 2 at Tri-State Generation & Transmission’s Craig Station.
Craig Fire/Rescue Battalion Chief Dennis Jones said 20 firefighters responded to the fire, which took place within a large air duct.
By the time firefighters were assembled and ready, however, the fire had been suffocated, Jones said.
“The fire was out by the time we made all of our arrangements to make sure we were safe,” he said. “We basically investigated.”
The cause of the fire is not yet known, and it’s unknown how long the investigation will take.
Jones said the fire may have been fueled by coal ash that had accumulated in the duct.
On Thursday, the fire department had turned the investigation over to Tri-State officials, which Jones said is common.
“They’re the experts on their own equipment,” he said. “Typically, if a house catches on fire, we’ll be the investigator. … But, something like that (at Tri-State) is usually site specific.”
Tri-State spokesperson Jim Van Someren said high temperatures continued into Thursday afternoon, and had stalled progress on finding the cause or making repairs.
“That specific area has not cooled down enough to access the ductwork,” he said. “But, from what they’ve been able to tell, it looks fairly isolated and really minor.”
Van Someren said Unit 2 will remain offline for the time being.
“If preliminary indications are correct — and minor repairs can be made — we’ll be getting that unit back up just as soon as we can,” he said. “I’m unable to commit to any sort of timeframe right now, but it could be quicker than we thought.”
In the meantime, Units 1 and 3 remain fully operational, he said. The fire won’t affect the workforce.
“We’ll have a full workforce,” Van Someren said. “It will be Tri-State employees who will be doing the inspections and repairs.”
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