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#122570 - 11/29/05 02:07 PM Large Substation Fire
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Story and pics submitted by gbrozny:

You can find a link to this and a video here .

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- American Electric Power officials said they anticipate all
customers to have fully restored electricity by 5 a.m. Tuesday after a
substation exploded Monday morning, leaving at least 35,000 customers on the
city's north side without power.
the explosion was reported at about 5:20 a.m. at the substation, located
along Karl and Norma roads, NBC 4's Kyle Anderson reported. A vortex of
bright orange, swirling flames and thick black smoke could be seen for
miles. A toxic smoke poured across Karl Road and blanketed neighborhoods for
blocks. As the sun rose, the intensity of the smoke became clearer, forcing
fire officials to evacuate six homes in the area. "We told everybody else to
just basically stay inside until we could determine exactly what was
burning," said Columbus fire battalion Chief Doug Smith. Two of three
transformers at the substation were burning, Anderson reported. For a while,
the fire was out of control. Firefighters could not extinguish the blaze
with water because of the electricity. Instead, they had to use barrels of
solvent and mix them with water to make foam. "Each one of those
transformers contained about 6,000 gallons of petroleum and that was our
problem this morning - we didn't have enough foam on the scene to put the
fire out," Smith said. Because of the size of the fire, Columbus had to call
neighboring departments to help them supply the foam, Anderson reported.
They drew help from as far away as Grandview Heights. It brought down large
power lines, causing damage that could take days to repair. Mike Vogley, a
40-year AEP employee, helped build the substation. "They wear out like
anything else," Vogley said. "You have alternators in your car go -- that's
electrical." Vogley said he was at a loss as to how the fire started, but
said he was in the same predicament with the rest of his neighbors.

The police would not let me get anywhere close to the substation to take my
own pictures, even a few hrs after the fire was out, but the only clear
view is right from Karl Rd, and AEP had a lot of trucks sitting out on the
street right in front of the substation.

There are more images and a short video on, here are some

This one shows you how close the substation is to the houses next to it,
notice the streetlight to the left is still on, because it is not on AEP.

The flames were shooting up about 50 ft. into the air.

Picture from above after they got the fire out, after it got light outside.

Close up of the effected area.



{Message edited to put pics in right order}

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 11-30-2005).]
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#122571 - 11/29/05 07:31 PM Re: Large Substation Fire
Dave T Offline

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Waukesha, WI, USA
WOW!! You could roast hotdogs and marshmellows a block away on that one.
Yes, America's aging transformers. It would be interesting to find out how old that transformer was. If they get by the first year or two of life they will usually last 30-35 years depending upon how hard they are used or abused.

#122572 - 11/30/05 09:38 AM Re: Large Substation Fire
screwi Offline

Registered: 05/27/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Liverpool,England,UK
Link Here
To the news report and images if anyone is interested, Cheers, Dave.

#122573 - 11/30/05 12:33 PM Re: Large Substation Fire
mxslick Offline

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 785
Loc: Atomic City, ID USA
Great link... I like the note that the firefighters were called back when a transformer began to smoke again.

It seems that the U.S. power grid is one of the most neglected in terms of keeping up with ever-expanding demand. My conversations with local POCO workers confirm that equipment that was once upsized when overloaded is now just left to cook until it fails. For the "pole pigs" in most residential areas, that may not be so critical. But it's happening with substation equipment all too often.

It's also interesting to me that this happened at 5:20 am...I would think that the load would be light at that hour?

Oh, wait, on second thought, it was a workday, people getting up and turning on the coffee pots and cooking, etc. Maybe not so unusual then.
Stupid should be painful.

#122574 - 01/09/06 07:10 PM Re: Large Substation Fire
sparky707 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/06
Posts: 4
Loc: Missouri(Missery)
I don't think peeing on it would help

#122575 - 01/09/06 08:28 PM Re: Large Substation Fire
Celtic Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 367
Loc: NJ
"It seems that the U.S. power grid is one of the most neglected in terms of keeping up with ever-expanding demand."

"Deferred maintenance comes to mind..."
~~ CELTIC ~~
...-= NJ =-...

#122576 - 01/10/06 09:23 AM Re: Large Substation Fire
Dave T Offline

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Waukesha, WI, USA
If I'm not mistaken there were (2) 25mva transformers involved for what guy told me from Waukesha Electric Systems.

#122577 - 01/12/06 04:58 PM Re: Large Substation Fire
Rewired Offline

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I have heard of a few failing up around my neck of the woods BUT I don't know how catastrophic they were... just to share with all of you.. I had a call the other day to repair two lights in a tiny daycare playground down in the city, no problem... What blew my mind is right on the other side of this very tiny playground was an electrical substation! Transformers in plain sight with nothing more than tall wire fencing separating the transformers from the playground and school!
I don't have a good feeling about that.. Should something fail and fail catastrophically, the results could be deadly, would you not agree?

#122578 - 01/13/06 09:14 AM Re: Large Substation Fire
Dave T Offline

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 157
Loc: Waukesha, WI, USA
You raise a good point, something that must be seriously considered.
I appears as though it may be an excellent idea to povide a buffer zone around.

#122579 - 01/14/06 10:20 AM Re: Large Substation Fire
Rewired Offline

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 567
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Yes I agree!
In Hamilton we have many smaller subs located all over and are so well blended in with the surrounding buildings you do not know its even a substation until you have a peek 'round the back, I mean they look like very well kept HOUSES!
Anyway, most have the transformers out back encloses with steel , but in some neighbourhoods they are just fenced around and there are trees and shrubs and stuff like that hiding everything... Probably won't do any good if one of those transformers decide to fail in a "bad" way!

That substation I mentioned in my previous post, is ancient. The school where the daycare is located, is only a decade old.. The reason I was given of WHY they put the daycare at the back and subsequently near the transformers was "So the general public would not get a "bad impression" of the students that attend this school"...
Yeah right, make the school look "prim and proper", who cares that little children are playing a mere 50' from a trio of power transformers, with a mere wire fence between them..
Amazing isn't it! ):

Sorry fer drifting off topic a bit


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