Last Updated on July 20, 2022
A transformer at Hoover Dam burst into flames and exploded on Tuesday, which led to the activation of warning sirens. Fire crews soon responded and dealt with the blaze before extensive damage was done. Ultimately, no injuries were reported, and the power grid was undamaged.
Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director Jacklynn L. Gould said around 10 a.m., the A5 transformer caught fire and was extinguished at approximately 10:30 a.m. Gould added that there was no risk to the power grid following the explosion.
“It’s my understanding it was probably a piece of equipment that wore out,” said Doug Hendrix, who serves as Deputy Public Affairs Specialist for the Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado River. “Certainly on the transformer side of the power plant, you have little more static electricity, and power moving, so you have the potential sometimes for static or warmer temperatures in that part of the equipment. But we have a lot of fire suppression equipment and redundant capability to put that out very quickly.”
Officials are still working to determine the exact cause of the explosion. “Our people were very quick to react,” said Hendrix. “Maintenance crews are there, working 24-seven down here… The fire was very isolated to that unit on the Arizona side.”
A video shared by a tourist who was visiting the dam, Kristy Hairston, captured the immediate aftermath of the explosion. Thick clouds of black smoke could be seen billowing out from the transformer while sirens could be heard blaring in the background.
— Kristy Hairston (@kristynashville) July 19, 2022
The Hoover Dam is one of the most important power-generating stations in the United States. On average, the dam generates about 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power each year for use in Nevada, Arizona, and California. It serves roughly one million people, according to the bureau.