August 17, 2022

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Hoover Dam transformer explodes; no one harm

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – A transformer exploded Tuesday at Hoover Dam, one of many nation’s largest hydroelectric energy vegetation, making a thick plume of black smoke and flames that have been rapidly extinguished.

Nobody was injured within the explosion close to the bottom of the dam, an engineering marvel on the Colorado River that straddles the Arizona-Nevada border. Electrical energy produced at Hoover Dam continues to stream to the 8 million folks in Arizona, Nevada and southern California who depend upon it, the Western Space Energy Administration mentioned.

The reason for the hearth was being investigated and officers have been working to find out the extent of harm to the transformer, certainly one of 15 on the complicated that controls the voltages for electrical energy despatched to prospects.

“There isn’t any menace to the facility grid,” mentioned Jacklynn Gould, a regional director for the US Bureau of Reclamation.

The fireplace ignited round 10 a.m. and was extinguished inside half an hour, Gould mentioned in a press release. It caught the eye of vacationers, who mentioned they heard an alarm sound and felt the bottom rumble beneath them.


William Herro, 13, of San Francisco, was on an remark bridge together with his mother and father when he noticed the explosion after which heard a “huge bang.”

“A ton of black smoke simply exploded within the air. It virtually seemed like a mushroom after which a fireplace adopted,” Herro mentioned. “I used to be actually shocked and began filming.”

The explosion occurred on the apron of a constructing that homes generators, situated barely downstream from the bottom of the dam, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas. At 221 meters, the Hoover Dam is likely one of the tallest dams in the US. Every of its 17 mills can provide 100,000 households with electrical energy.

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As much as 20,000 autos cross the large crest of the dam day by day, which is a Nationwide Historic Landmark and has been featured in movies equivalent to Transformers and Fools Rush In. Most motorists touring between Arizona and Nevada use a bypass bridge excessive above the dam, which opened in 2010.


The Bureau of Reclamation owns and operates the dam, energy vegetation and generators. Electrical energy produced on the website is transmitted to a substation the place it’s marketed by way of the Western Space Energy Administration.

The Hoover Dam is taken into account a baseload supply, which means it could possibly rapidly reply to the necessity for extra energy on the grid or name again provide.

The fireplace triggered an alarm on the Western Space Energy Administration’s management heart in Phoenix. Spokeswoman Lisa Meiman mentioned whereas the failure of a transformer or different tools at hydroelectric energy vegetation can put stress on a grid, “no single supply is important to the well being of the facility grid.”

The administration markets electrical energy from 57 federal hydropower vegetation. Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon Dam upstream on the Arizona-Utah border are among the many largest, Meiman mentioned.

Hydroelectric energy from these dams has lately been threatened by the falling ranges of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the 2 largest man-made reservoirs within the US, containing water from the Colorado River.


Federal officers have taken steps to shore up the lakes lately to take care of the dams’ capacity to generate electrical energy and maintain water flowing to the western states and Mexico that depend upon it. Drought and local weather change have brought on lakes to sink to their lowest ranges in a long time.

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Fonseca reported from Flagstaff, Arizona. Related Press author Terry Tang in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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