Small electrical cabinet fire at Ice Harbor power house short-lived

Published Jan. 17, 2013

BURBANK, Wash. -- Two small fires occurred inside two generator exciter cabinets in the power house at Ice Harbor Lock and Dam at about 9 a.m. this morning, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials. There were no injuries.

Three generators that were producing power at the time stopped, and local power in the power house ceased briefly, Corps officials said. Back-up power for dam operations restored basic facility power within 30 minutes.

Ice Harbor Dam staff followed standard protocols to address the situation, contacting local emergency services and taking fire suppression actions. The fires did not last long due to the design and content of the electrical cabinets. The fire produced some smoke, but quickly cleared, according to operations officials.

“We really appreciate the prompt response of Walla Walla County Fire District Number 5,” said Walla Walla District Commander Lt. Col. Andrew Kelly. “It’s great to know there are skilled emergency staff nearby to help out if we need them.”

Ice Harbor operations staff at the dam are evaluating the generators and associated electrical and mechanical components to determine the extent of any damage, and are working to restore power generation capability as soon as possible. The navigation lock returned to service at 12:40 p.m., and river flows previously passing the dam via power generation are being passed through the spillway.

An investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is located near Burbank, Wash., at Snake River Mile 9.7.


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 13-004