Officials investigate cause of transformer fire at Providence power plant

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PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – Providence Fire officials are now investigating what led up to a transformer fire at Manchester Street Power Plant.

Deputy Chief Brian Mahoney said the fire started around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. 

Mahoney said the fire was contained to the front yard of the plant where the transformer was.

“It was actually kind of crazy. People were running around,” said eyewitness Price Alexander.

Officials said the transformer was full of mineral oil, which is used to keep the equipment cool. He said the oil burned off very quickly, causing the heavy smoke. 

“It was really bad actually. There was quite a bit of smoke and flame in the air,” said eyewitness Jae Williams. 

Fire crews tested the air quality to make sure the mineral oil didn’t have any negative impacts on the environment. 

“We did air monitoring throughout the area– at the plant and downwind from the plant– and we had no bad readings,” said Mahoney.

The fire is now out, with only hot spots smoldering.

Mahoney said this is the first time the department has responded to a transformer fire at the plant. 

“An investigation is ongoing. At this time, we haven’t determined what caused the actual explosion,” said Mahoney.

It took four hours for fire fighters to put out the blaze.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) – Providence firefighters were urging residents to “stay safe” as they put out a large fire in the area.

According to Providence Firefighters, the fire was caused by a large transformer explosion at the Manchester Street Power Plant. 

Around 11:00 a.m, the commanding chief requested a second alarm for the fire, bringing 47 firefighters on scene. 

Around 12:30 pm in the afternoon the Providence department of Public Safety reported that the area of Point Street is closed and there is heavy smoke. 

The department also reported that there are no injuries at this time. 

The cause of why the transformer failed is still under investigation.

ABC6 will provide additional details as they become clear.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019