A March generator fire at the City of Ouzinkie power plant has been linked to negligent operational procedures.
The city’s main diesel generator caught fire March 21 and left the Spruce Island city without power for a day. At the time, Ouzinkie’s two backup generators were not working, but a mechanic was able to fly to the community of 168 people and restore power.
Investigation revealed the fire caused around $4,000 in damage. The Alaska Energy Authority traveled to Ouzinkie and replaced the generator that was damaged in the fire.
According to city documents, the investigation revealed radiator hoses on all three generators were cracked and left unrepaired.
According to the city, Ouzinkie’s power plant operator is responsible for keeping critical parts in inventory and repairing equipment as quickly as possible.
“The rubber hose was cracked and should have been changed to steel,” Ouzinkie Mayor Dan Clarion said.
In the event of a fire, protocol requires the power plant operator to hit the an emergency stop button on the control panel before entering the generator room. The button stops all fans, engines and pumps in order to protect other engines and reduce the fuel and oxygen available to the fire.
According to city documents, the emergency protocol was either ignored or missed during the March fire, which increased the chance of damage or injury.
Ouzinkie has now implemented a requirement for the power plant operator to attend a monthly safety meeting at the city office to discuss operational deficiencies and emergency procedures.
“We’ve since implemented some safety meetings and procedures,” Clarion said.
He added that the power plant operator on duty has been removed.
Ouzinkie’s power plant has not had any other fires since the March incident.
Contact Mirror writer Nicole Klauss at firstname.lastname@example.org.