Rolling blackouts on Block Island after fire at power plant


BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (WPRI) – Rolling blackouts are in effect for the rest of Saturday after a major fire at Block Island’s only power plant.

Block Island Power chief operating officer Clifford McGinnis said that the fire started at about midnight Saturday. A piston on one of the engines shot through the engine block, causing hot oil to spill and sparking the fire.

That generator was destroyed and two others others seriously damaged. The company has implemented two to three-hour rolling blackouts for everywhere but downtown New Shoreham, which will continue through tonight.

Meanwhile, two replacement generators are in transit to the island and crews will work through the night to get them connected, at which point the plant will be back at very close to full capacity.

Several of the company’s bucket trucks were also damaged and will need to be returned to the mainland for service and re-certification. McGinnis expects that the two damaged generators can be repaired, but the damage was extensive.

Temperatures on the island were about 85 degrees Saturday afternoon.

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