ST. GEORGE — An equipment fire at the St. George wastewater treatment plant sent smoke billowing from the roof area of one of the buildings before it was quickly contained Wednesday afternoon.
Shortly after 7 p.m., the St. George Fire Department responded with multiple engines to the wastewater treatment facility in St. George on a structure fire page.
Heavy smoke was coming from the facility that could be seen by fire crews as they made their way to the plant, St. George Fire Chief Robert Stoker said.
Upon arrival, fire crews found a blaze burning in one of the large air handler units that heats and cools the headworks building, which is where the water treatment process begins by reducing the number of pollutants from the incoming wastewater.
“All of the regional wastewater comes into that headworks building where the first stage of the process starts,” Stoker said.
Once the supply lines were in place, crews accessed the roof area and were able to extinguish the blaze burning inside of the equipment before it had a chance to breach the wall of the unit or spread to the roof area.
The contractors were on site when the fire broke out and provided additional information to the fire crews to assist in accessing the area where the burning equipment was located, Stoker said, which reduced the amount of time it took to begin suppression efforts.
Firefighters remained on scene for nearly two hours checking for any burning embers or fire extension.
Stoker added the air handler was damaged and a section of the equipment may need to be repaired or replaced, but there was no damage to the structure itself so there was no interruption in wastewater processing.
The cause of the fire is believed to be an equipment malfunction of the air unit itself, possibly when the unit overheated from the blowers not functioning properly when the heater was turned on.
“Instead of the heat being blown out into the building, it may have built up in the unit until it caught fire,” Stoker said.
The cost to repair the equipment is still being assessed, he said, but the damage will likely cost several thousand dollars in repairs while the building itself was left unscathed.
No injuries were reported.
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