Gilbert firefighters extinguish flames at SRP plant

If you were out in the east valley Friday morning, you likely saw the thick black smoke billowing high in the sky over the east valley.

A transformer fire at the SRP San Tan Generating Station in Gilbert was the cause of the smoke.

The good news is that firefighters were able to put it out in good time, and no one lost power.

The flames were fueled by thick black oil that runs the transformer.

"We're always concerned whenever we have an electrical fire involved, we're always assuming it's energized," said Capt. Gary Hildenbradt with Gilbert Fire.

Gilbert Fire crews were called out around 5:30 Friday morning. They waited for 25 minutes until it was confirmed the transformer wasn't hot.

"At the time it was energized. It was not generating any power," said Patty Garcia-Likens with SRP.

Garcia-Likens says the fire broke out in a 69-kilovolt transformer that wasn't generating any power. It's a plus for firefighters who attacked the blaze from the ground using class-b foam.

"This is a mineral based fire, and class-b is used for gasoline, paints, mineral oil, things like that," said Hildenbradt.

SRP says the cooler temperatures definitely made a difference; that's because the San Tan Generating Station is primarily relied on during the summer months.

"It's at the ready, it's a natural gas plant so it's always ready to generate power, luckily as you know we're having a very mild spring, so we didn't have a lot of demand at this point when the fire happened," said Garcia-Likens.

Because the transformer was not generating power, there were no reported outages or injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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