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Front Page » June 21, 2007 » Local News » Electrical transformer explodes, results in power outage ...
Published 3,033 days ago

Electrical transformer explodes, results in power outage in Price

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Flames engulf brush and plants near 700 North in Price after an electrical transformer exploded on June 19.

An explosion at an electrical transformer on 700 North across from the Dino-Mine playground not only started a brush fire on Tuesday, but sent many homes in the area into darkness until later that evening.

The pop and explosion happened June 19 slightly before 7 p.m.

Terrace Hills Park, located across the street from the electrical transformer, was full of people when the incident occurred.

Many people at the park said the boom happened twice as the sparks and smoke rose from the ground-based transformer.

"There were two booms and alot of smoke," said Frank Peczuh, who was at a baseball field nearby.

The Price City Police Department rushed to the site and, when the law enforcement officer arrived at the scene, the brush around the transformer was in full blaze.

Price police tried to put out some of the flames with fire extinguishers.

But as the Price firefighters arrived at the location, it was apparent that water would be needed.

In the aftermath of the explosion, the door of the electrical transformer's enclosure was bulged from the powerful explosion that occurred inside the module.

After the fire was doused, it became time for officials to conduct an assessment of the damage.

"We are trying to repair that transformer today," said Price city representative Brett Cammans on Wednesday morning. "How those repairs go will determine what will come of all this."

The representative is in charge of the electrical works for Price city.

Cammans indicated that no one was sure why the transformer blew when it did.

The weather was not as hot on June 19 as the conditions had been on other days during the last week and things did not seem out of normal, pointed out Cammans.

However, weather forecasters are predicting unseasonably hot conditions for the next few days and the situation could create more of a problem if the city's attempts to fix the transformer fail.

"Actually, to get power to the area that was out last night, we had to reroute through some other transformers," explained Cammans. "Those serve smaller service areas so they are able to handle it."

The area of Price that was affected by the total power outage was located between 100 East and 1100 East and 400 North to the edge of the city limits.

The eastern portion of the impacted section of town had power restored at about 9 p.m., while the western half of the outage area was brought back on line about 11:15 p.m.

However, other parts of town had lights and computers flicker at the time of the explosion as well.

The incident with the transformer on Tuesday follows last week's problems with a brownout in some parts of town that caused damage to some systems at the College of Eastern Utah.

The damage to the computers basically shut down services at the college on Friday until the systems could be repaired.

"Theoretically, these transformers can back each other up," said Cammans. "But a lot of whether they can do it or not is determined by power usage."

Crews had planned on turning the power back through the repaired transformer at approximately mid-day on Wednesday, but the repair will be delayed for various reasons until Thursday. Crews continue to monitor power usage through the rerouted transformers.

The possibility remains that even when the repair is made it might not prove effective and the transformer might need to be replaced. Meanwhile the only customer without power as of Wednesday evening was Carbon High School which is being kept off line.

Replacing the transformer could take several days if it needs to be done.

While the repairs/replacements are being made residents can expect some power interuptions .

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