Transformer problem creates partial power failure at senior living center

A power failure and smell of smoke at the Meadows Monday brought firefighters out in force. St. George, Utah, May 29, 2017 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Residents reporting the smell of smoke brought out a major response by St. George City firefighters as power went out to part of the Meadows Senior Living Center complex on 900 South in St. George Monday.

Firefighters can be seen on the roof of the dining hall at the Meadows Senior Living Center in St. George Monday. St. George, Utah, May 29, 2017 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

Firefighters found “no fire in the building,” St. George Fire Battalion Chief Ken Guard said.

“Just a smell of smoke … when we further investigated, there is a breaker in a subpanel that tripped. Their main panel being fed from the exterior part of the building, one of the legs have dropped,” Guard said.

No injuries were reported and no residents had to be evacuated, however the elevators were not working so firefighters assisted in moving some residents downstairs as a precaution.

An explanation as to what occurred involves a minor discussion about three-phase AC power, where all three wires have current flowing through them 1/3 of a cycle apart, according to

There is no neutral; all the wires are energized. If one leg drops, the phase is interrupted. There is only one phase left open at that point, and will quickly burn out if it is under a load. Guard said this was avoided at the senior center by the breaker tripping and shutting down power to that part of the building.

The elevators,  dining hall and kitchen were affected by the breaker tripping. St. George Power was on the scene, Guard said, looking at the city’s end of the problem and indeed a faulty transformer was eventually found and repaired.

Business went on as usual at the Meadows. Guard said four engines were called to the scene with one placed on standby. Fifteen firefighters were on the scene along with a unit from St. George Police and Gold Cross Ambulance.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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