Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 1, 2014

Substation fire knocks out power

VALDOSTA — A fire at an electrical substation off of the Lakeland Highway knocked out power to traffic lights and homes for a little more than an hour Monday afternoon, but the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

At approximately 1:15 p.m., the Valdosta Fire Department responded to a fire at a Georgia Power substation on Poole Road off of Lakeland Highway.

Former Douglas firefighter Chris Rudd was traveling home on Lakeland Highway Monday when he noticed a pillar of smoke and called 911.

“Black smoke was billowing across the highway, and I slowed and didn’t see any fire trucks,” said Rudd. “So, I went down the dirt road, saw the fire and called 911.”

The substation is near a housing development, and 911 had already received several calls about the fire and smoke. By the time Rudd called, Valdosta fire trucks were on the way.

The blaze was limited to a small section of the substation close to Poole Road, within two or three gray metal enclosures about the size of a shed.

“We had a voltage regulator that caught on fire,” said Colquitt EMC General Manager Danny Nichols.

The substation is owned by Georgia Power, but Colquitt EMC serves 8,000 customers from the facility.

The fire knocked out power to homes and traffic lights in the surrounding areas, and flared a few times as flames reached the oil inside of the regulator.

The Valdosta Police Department directed traffic at intersections on Inner Perimeter Road and other nearby intersections where traffic lights were out. The Valdosta Fire Department doused the regulator with water once it was safe to approach the area.

Colquitt EMC restored power to its customers within an hour and 20 minutes by rerouting through adjacent stations, Nichols said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

“Our crews got there and noticed a hole in the backside of the tank, and that usually means that there was a short or that it was shot,” said Nichols.

Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said a shooting incident is not suspected at this time.

No one was injured during the incident, Nichols said.

Georgia Power spokesperson John Kraft said no outages were reported by Georgia Power customers as a result of the fire.

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