Fire shuts down Coyote Station
By Chris Erickson
An early morning fire at Coyote Station shut down operations at the coal-fired plant last week.
According to Otter Tail Power, the event was the result of a mechanical failure in one of its turbine-driven boiler feed pumps, and the plant tripped offline Thursday morning.
“No one was hurt,” said Jan Rudolf, vice president of energy supply for Otter Tail Power Company in a release. “We are investigating the cause and assessing the damage. Until we complete our assessment we cannot estimate how long the plant might be out of service.”
According to officials, the fire alarm sounded at around 5 a.m. Thursday morning, which prompted area fire crews to respond. The failure in the boiler feed pumps led to ruptures in lube oil lines, resulting in a fire.
Coyote Station Manager Brad Zimmerman said the fire department was on site immediately to help contain the fire.
“I believe the fire department was on site within 15-20 min of the incident,” Zimmerman stated. “The initial oil fire was no longer burning by that time. The oil fire caused many other fires within the plant and in particular the roof above the machine. The fire department worked on these numerous fires for approximately 12 hours.”
As of late Monday the total damage had still not been assessed. According to Zimmerman, the primary focus would remain on problems with ancillary equipment, which prevented the station from coming back on line.