Electrical system scorched - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Electrical system scorched

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May 7, 2004

Albany-- What is believed to be a mechanical failure causes a regulator at a power substation to catch fire. Witnesses near Power substation 14 off Stuart Avenue say it sounded like an explosion.

While Water, Gas and Light workers tried to restore power to 600 customers, firefighters had to battle the flames without water.

Inside the regulator is hot mineral oil. "Fire Extinguishers and foam the only way, the oil gets hot, you can't put water on it, it's just like putting water on a grease fire in your house. It has to be fought with foam and fire extinguishers," said Jimmy Norman, Line crew Supervisor.

Power was restored to 600 customers in 28 minutes. During the fire, Water, Gas and Light switched power to another substation. Then, that substation started to overload. They had to switch again, but did so without making a major power outage.

It took firefighters 45 minutes to put out the flames and 30 minutes for power crews to restore electricity. The charred regulator will have to be replaced which could cost up to $10,000.

posted at 5:25PM by dave.miller@walb.com