Transformer causes local power outage
August 16, 2001
Many Craig residents likely slept through a power outage Thursday night that may have also caused them to oversleep this morning.
The towns of Craig and Maybell were left without electricity when a fire started in a Thompson Hill transformer at about 11:15 p.m. Power was restored to Craig shortly before 1 a.m., but Maybell residents were without power until late this morning.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but line superintendent Vic Rose attributes it to a failure in a 44,000 volt circuit breaker.
Members of the Craig/Rural Fire Rescue were dispatched to the scene where flames were estimated to be 30-feet high at one point.
The transformer houses the line breaker that protects the feed to Maybell. Had the fire not been so intense, power might have remained on in Craig, but Yampa Valley Electric Association (YVEA) officials didn’t want to chance a bigger problem, so they shut down power to the entire community for about 45 minutes until the situation was deemed safe.
“We didn’t want to lose anything more,” Rose said. ” The fire was intense at one point.”
At 9 a.m. this morning, power had still not been restored to Maybell, Rose said YVEA’s goal was to restore power by 11 a.m. today. Ten linemen were working on the transformer through the night, replacing glass that was contaminated with oil and smoke from the fire.
“We were seriously concerned about a fire restart,” Rose said.
Rose called the situation a catastrophic failure.
“We don’t normally see them like this,” Rose said. “At one point, the fire department had two hoses on them.”
The fire was spotted by a YVEA lineman, who was returning home from a late function. He immediately called Rose.