Demolition permit temporarily pulled at Brayton Point after 4th fire
SOMERSET, Mass. (WLNE) - The town of Somerset has pulled the demolition permit for Brayton Point Commerce Center, site of the former Brayton Point power plant, after demolition work sparked four fires this year.
"We've temporarily put their demolition permit on hold," said Deputy Chief of the Somerset Fire Department, Jamison Barros.
Barros said the permit was pulled to get the property's owner, Commercial Development Company, to make necessary safety changes.
"One of the conditions that we're working on is an improved fire plan, first and foremost," said Barros.
Part of the plan is to install new fire hydrants, as the ones on the property are out of service. Another change that'll be made is a quicker notification when a fire does erupt.
Barros said his department has responded to four fires at the property in just over six months. The most recent fire, on October 8, was not reported by workers.
"They tried to manage it themselves, but unfortunately it grew a little bit larger than they could control."
The former coal-powered plant was shut down in 2017, and has been under demolition since April, to become a hub for renewable energy.
"It was a plant that had a lot of steam running through it, some of the pipes are very thick... in order to bring that pile down, they have to cut it. It's a lot of hot work, it produces sparks, slag, then falls down into the pile and that's what ignites."
The biggest issue, Barros said, is the lack of water. Tuesday's fire required the response of several companies from surrounding communities. Working hydrants on the property won't only allow workers to start cooling down the debris pile before it heats up, but will ease the job of Somerset Fire when they do respond.
"When we are called, we'll have a water supply that'll be more of a two truck response rather than seven communities responding."
Commercial Development Company spokesperson John Kowalik said in an emailed statement:
"Today our team installed and connected 5 fire hydrants and reestablished adequate water pressure on site. We are also working with Somerset Fire Department on a new fire prevention plan. Brayton Point Commerce Center is working closely with the Town of Somerset and look forward to resuming demolition activities soon."
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