Transformer At Cecil County Power Plant Goes Up In Flames

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-– Firefighters battled a massive blaze at the Wildcat Point Generation Facility in Cecil County on Wednesday.

The fire burned for hours after a transformer with thousands of gallons of mineral oil caught fire.

WJZ’s Sky Eye Chopper 13 captured the fire Wednesday afternoon.

Around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, a transformer with about 20,000 gallons of mineral oil caught on fire forcing workers to evacuate.

“It was a very large column of heavy black smoke for a long period of time,” said Richard Brooks, the chief of Emergency Services for Cecil County.

All afternoon flames from the Wildcat Point Facility were visible from numerous vantage points and because there’s mineral oil involved, fire crews just had to let the fire burn.

“One thing we are very sensitive to and the firefighters are sensitive to arriving is the use of water on a fire like this with an oil, ” said Chief Brooks.

Old Dominion Electrical Cooperative, a Virginia company is building this new plant next to an existing facility. On its website, the company says the plant will provide power to almost 400,000 homes once it’s complete.

A spokesperson tells WJZ this massive fire will not delay the project.

While the fire burns itself off, representatives for the facility say it has no environmental hazards, but that’s not good enough for people who live just yards away.

People who live near the plant want some assurance they’ll be safe.

“The fire makes me nervous because I don’t know what to expect in the future,” one woman told WJZ.

She’s concerned that the company didn’t reach out to her personally.

“Send a public relations person to our door and say look, this is what happened, you’re OK, tell us what they told you,” the woman said.

Now the company said the smoke that burned for more than five hours today is not toxic and the fire chief reiterated the mineral oil is benign.

As for what caused that transformer to catch on fire, the fire chief says it will be up to the company to determine the cause.

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