Worker In Hospital After Blaze At Bec Power Station

A FIRE at the Bahamas Electricity Corporation's Long Island power station left one employee in hospital and residents on that island without power for hours.

#According to a press release issued by the corporation, the fire was sparked in one of BEC's generator units around 4am on Saturday.

The fire was extinguished around 4.30am but not before it caused "significant damage" to that particular engine.

The cause of the fire remains unknown and is still being investigated, BEC said. Power was restored to "most communities" by 7am with full restoration at 9am after an initial probe in the immediate aftermath showed neither the second nor the third generator units were impacted by the blaze.

"With the two units in service and barring any unforeseen circumstances, customers in Long Island should not experience supply interruptions as both units are capable of meeting the island's peak demand at this time, BEC said.

Nonetheless, the corporation is still sourcing rental generation to provide stand-by supply should it become necessary," BEC said in its press release.

"BEC acknowledges that an employee who responded to the station fire suffered minor injuries and was flown to the capital where he is hospitalised in stable condition. The corporation expresses its sincere gratitude for his bravery and wishes him a quick recovery."

BEC chairman Leslie Miller went to Long Island yesterday to inspect the damage and reported it was not as severe as he first thought.

"It's very, very costly but it's fixable," he said.

Mr Miller said a piston in the engine had blown out of the side and repairs could run between $200,000 and $300,000 - perhaps more.

"But it really was much better than we thought," the chairman said, adding that repairs should be completed in four to six weeks.

In the meantime, an engine from the Marsh Harbour plant is to be moved to the Long Island plant in the next 10 to 14 days to help meet the power needs of that island, Mr Miller said.

A representative of the company that sold BEC the generator was expected to arrived to Long Island from Texas yesterday to take a look at the engine, Mr Miller said.

The chairman said the event was unexpected and offered his apologies to those affectd.

He also praised the management and staff at the Long Island plant for their response.

Mr Miller added the injured employee was treated for smoke inhalation but is "in good shape" and has been released from hospital.