Crews battle massive transformer fire at Avondale SRP substation

You could see the smoke for miles after a transformer failed and a 27,000 gallon tank filled with mineral oil caught fire on Wednesday morning near 119th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road.

"It's kind of a safe type of a fluid to use to keep your systems cool and that's what we use in all of our transformers and the problem is when and if one of these types of facilities breaks or fails, you're going to have a big fire associated with it because mineral oil burns very heavily and very fast," explained Salt River Project's Scott Harrelson.

Before heading to the scene, firefighters waited for SRP crews to shut the power off to that transformer. Once it was deemed safe for crews, they had to decide whether to let the fire burn itself out or try to fight it with a particular foam.

"Class B foam is a thicker, more of a different chemical make up of the foam that suppresses that oil fire and creates a blanket and removes a lot of the heat and removes the oxygen and the heat puts the fire out," said Avondale Division Fire Chief Ben Avila.

This substation takes power from power plants, then distributes it to different residential substations. And because of that, no SRP customers were without power, but crews did lose some of their supply.

SRP crews say a transformer fire like this one has the potential to burn for days. Thankfully, firefighters were able to suppress the fire quickly and are now looking into the exact cause.