Electrician Honored for Fighting 2012 Power Plant Fire

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plant fireSacramento, CA -- A retired hydroelectric plant electrician is being honored for helping fight a fire during the Thanksgiving Day 2012 fire at the Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping Generating Plant.

Kevin Mefford was among 52 people being honored by the state yesterday.  The award is given for, "demonstrating extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism in order to save the life of another."

Mefford had worked for the plant for 19 years when the fire occurred.  He was also a volunteer firefighter.  Mefford stated in an interview with DWR magazine, "I was proud to be able to contribute to securing some of the plant systems and fighting the fire."

While fighting the fire, he guided firefighters through hazardous equipment in the smoke filled building.

"Some firefighters became low on air and one became tangled in cables as the smoke eliminated visibility.  In the dark, smoky, confusing and often dangerous situation, Mr. Mefford helped them avoid many hazards, including electrical equipment, confined spaces, stored lubricants, and many feet of wiring," said the award citation.

Mefford and the other firefighters made eight attacks at the fire, but it grew to a dangerous point and they had to evacuate.

The fire was still going the next day, so Mefford returned in his gear and surveyed each floor for the fire.

Investigators later determined that the fire started in the cable tray gallery.  The fire caused a loss of $66.8 million.