VT - Fire reported, noises heard at BF substation

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

VT - Fire reported, noises heard at BF substation

Reformer Staff

BELLOWS FALLS -- A loud popping noise that sounded like a backfiring car or a gunshot startled locals on the Square at approximately 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

The sound came from the substation by the river and three witnesses reported flames and smoke coming from different parts of the electrical structure.

"The reports were conflicting," firefighter Tom Fredriksen said, pointing to two very different spots where witnesses claimed they had seen fire.

Fredriksen said a fire at a substation is one of the worst kinds of fire. Electrical fires cannot be put out with hoses, he said. The best that could have been done in a disaster would have been to shut down the street until the fire was contained and threat of explosions eliminated.

The disturbance was fortunately more of a mystery than a disaster.

An off-duty PG&E representative who happened to be in the area inspected the structure carefully from all sides and could not detect any malfunction.

Denny Harty, an off-duty substation worker from National Grid, also happened to be driving by and could not find any unusual signs either.

"The temperatures are all normal on the transformers," he said. "There's no broken glass or anything hanging down, and the fans are on."

Yet a faint smell of fried outlet wafted through the air and the popping noise had been unmistakable -- and untraceable.

Fredriksen said the excessive heat and many air conditioners running could have overloaded the system.

No outages or surges were reported, however.

When the big yellow truck from Green Mountain Power arrived, only Fredriksen was left observing the site.

The GMP workers inspected the substation thoroughly from inside the gate and did not find the source of the brief eruption.

"Something definitely happened," Fredriksen said. "It's just a matter of finding the location."


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), July 26, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ