The cause of an early morning fire Wednesday that destroyed a 500-kilovott transformer at Rocky Mountain Power’s Aeolus substation north of Medicine Bow remains under investigation. RMP spokesperson Tiffany Erickson said the transformer was completely destroyed in the large electrical fire.
Pictured above: A fire at the Aeolus substation north of Medicine Bow destroyed this large 500 kilovolt transformer. Photos courtesy of Bill Ellis and Lenny Layman.
The transformer sits in the middle of the substation surrounded by electrical infrastructure, power lines and wind turbines. Erickson said the fire is believed to have started around 1:00 a.m., but did not have the exact time.
Carbon County Fire Warden John Rutherford told Bigfoot 99 that the call came in 2:25 Wednesday morning. Four engines from Medicine Bow and two from Hanna responded to the fire. Rutherford said their role was very limited.
Overnight rain may have helped limit the damage. Most of the county fire engines didn’t stay on the scene long. Rutherford said the first units started leaving around 3:00 in the morning, about a half-hour after they arrived. The last unit drove off the scene at 7:20.
Electrical distribution lines to RMP customers in Carbon County were not affected, and normal residential and commercial use was uninterrupted. However, ranchers in the area said the crowded fields of wind turbines around the substation stood still on Thursday, their blades not turning. Erickson confirmed the substation was offline after the fire, and will energy production has been impacted.
The charred and blackened transformer was still smoldering late Thursday morning. While the investigation continues into the cause of the fire, RMP is readying a spare transformer the company has in stock to replace the one that was destroyed. A timeline on when the substation will be back up and running was unknown yesterday.