Technological Hazard – Fire: St. Clair Hydroelectric Power Plant, East China Township, Michigan
North America – USA | State of Michigan, East China Township – St. Clair Hydroelectric Power Plant
Location: 42°45’52.0″N 82°28’21.0″W
Present Operational Age: ~63 years
Event: FIRE/EMERGENCY DECLARED
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Authorities are investigating the cause of a massive fire that raged for more than 10 hours at the St. Clair Power Plant in East China Township Thursday and Friday.
The fire broke out at the DTE plant on Recor Road at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Fire crews extinguished the blaze at about 4:45 a.m. Friday and continue to monitor the facility for rekindling.
All employees were evacuated from the building with no injuries reported.
DTE teams invoked emergency procedures and shut down all generating units at the site while working with first responders to control the situation, the energy company stated in a release.
Although no immediate threat to the surrounding area is expected, air monitoring systems that were put in place at 8:30 p.m. Friday will continue to take readings to ensure air quality is within normal limits. As of Friday afternoon, readings continued to be within normal limits outside the facility perimeter.
Small radioactive sources used in level gauges are present in piping inside the facility, but pose no threat to first responders or the public, St. Clair County officials stated in a press release. Monitoring of all hazardous materials that could pose a threat will continue throughout the response.
DTE customers are not expected to see any changes in their electric service.
The plant will remain closed, although limited access will be given to DTE and investigators while they work to determine the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage. The 294 employees will be re-assigned to other DTE facilities.
The plant, which went online in 1954, was already set to be taken off-line by 2023. It is unknown if or when the plant will reopen.
A stretch of M-29 near the power plant was reopened Friday morning after being closed to traffic following the blaze. A safety zone established in the St. Clair River remained.
A call from a facility employee brought the St. Clair Fire Department to the scene, along with 30 other area fire departments, including crews from the Canadian side of the border.
“We want to thank the various fire departments in the area for the quick response and action, and the community for its support,” DTE stated in a release.
[Byline Pamela Binsfeld]
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Between 80 and 100 firefighters from about 30 fire departments from throughout the county responded to the scene at 4901 Pointe Drive. The fire was reported shortly before 6:30 p.m.
About 50 employees were in the plant at the time, all escaped without injury. Laure said they were out within five minutes, following emergency plans the company already has in place.
The fire was caused by a generation unit catching fire, according to a statement from DTE Energy. There are six turbine units in the plant.
“Employees were evacuated immediately and safely. At this time, there are no known injuries at the facility,” according to the statement.
[Byline Jackie Smith]
Latest update from DTE on St. Clair Plant fire
Port Huron Times Herald
Massive Fire Forces DTE Energy’s St. Clair Power Plant Offline