A fire Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Wilmarth Generating Station damaged equipment valued at a quarter-million dollars.
Mankato Department of Public Safety – Fire Deputy Director Jeff Bengtson explained, “They had a switchgear that was involved in a fire. It connects two generators to the grid, to their system.”
The switchgear is housed in a metal box, and Bengtson said the fire didn’t spread beyond it. “It’s used for peak energy times; they say it was not in use at the time,” he said.
The fire may be related to the heavy Wednesday afternoon rainstorm that rolled through. Bengtson said, “There was heavy storm cell that had come through just prior to that. The cause is unintentional. Right now it appears that some water might have gotten into that switchgear and shorted out some electrical equipment.”
It took some time to make sure that putting water on it was safe, but not long to put out. He said firefighters, “Probably waited about a half hour until we could confirm it was de-energized and then it took ten minutes.”