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Fire at John Amos power plant quickly extinguished, company says

By Staff reports
KENNY KEMP | Gazette
Workers at the John Amos power plant examine the site after a transformer exploded there Wednesday afternoon. No one was injured, an Appalachian Power spokesman said.

A transformer exploded Wednesday at the site of the John Amos power plant near St. Albans.

Phil Moye, spokesman for Appalachian Power, which runs the plant, said there were no injuries from the resulting fire. The fire was extinguished within minutes by the plant’s firefighters, he said.

“We have our folks there making sure that everything is OK,” Moye said.

Moye said he thought the fire was reported around 12:30 p.m., and that some residents could hear the explosion and see black smoke.

He said the Winfield, Eleanor and Teays Valley volunteer fire departments responded but didn’t know if they actually went onto the property.

Moye said the transformer was not in the plant itself but on a nearby switchyard -- which is used to increase the voltage of the electricity from 26,000, the level at which the plant produces it, to 765,000 before enters the transmission system. Moye said this makes electricity distribution more efficient, and added that the voltage decreases again before it eventually enters residents’ homes. The John Amos plant has the capacity to serve 2 million residential customers, he said.

Moye said Appalachian Power is still determining the cause of the explosion and the extent of the damage. He said there were no direct outages from the incident.

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