Sparks from welding torch cause of fire at Brayton Point

SE Mass

SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — Emergency crews responded Tuesday morning to a fire at the site of the former Brayton Point power plant.

The call came in around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. It took crews nearly three hours to get it under control.

A spokesperson for Brayton Point LLC and Commercial Development said the fire was caused by sparks from a welding torch during building demolition.

“Although fire prevention measures were in place, a fire did ignite some roofing material deep in the rubble,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Somerset Fire Chief Scott Jepson said this is the fourth time they’ve responded to a fire at Brayton Point in the past six months. Eyewitness News was there when the site caught fire in late August.

He said crews experienced some challenges getting to the fire since it was located roughly five stories up.

“It requires a ladder truck and that uses a lot of water,” Jepson said. “A challenge down at the power plant is a lack of fire hydrants where they are doing demolition, so we had to require mutual aid tankers to supply water.”

Emergency crews from surrounding communities – including Swansea, Westport, Warren and Rehoboth – aided in extinguishing the fire.

He said while the cause of the fire was accidental and the project is properly permitted, incidents like these drain resources.

“The town will be addressing the issue again, we have met with them on several occasions with the town administrator and the town planner, making sure they are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing,” Jepson said.

Brayton Point said crews will be implementing additional fire prevention measures, including the installation of a new fire hydrant in the area. The fire hydrant is expected to be installed next week.

“We apologize if the smoke caused alarm to residents or people in the area,” the spokesperson said.

Jepson said no one was injured and the property wasn’t damaged.

Brayton Point was once the largest coal-fired power plant in New England. Its twin 500-foot cooling towers were demolished back in April as the property’s new owners plan to turn it into a renewable energy hub.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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