Fire damages Westar power plant in Colwich

(COLWICH, Segwick County) - The fire at the Westar Power Plant in Colwich is out. Fire fighters extinguished the flames around 7:30 Wednesday morning. The fire at 151st St. W. and 61st St. N. started just before two o'clock in the morning.

Sedgwick County Fire Division Chief Dan Wegner said a combination of foam and chemicals smothered the flames and cooled down a transformer.

Westar Energy Spokesman Nick Bundy says the fire started after a transformer failed. It burned for several hours because of mineral oil that cools the transformer.

Bundy says fail safes are in place for situations like this and those fail safes kept things from getting worse. He says it's unclear when the transformer would be replaced or when the plant would be back online.

Bundy said customers won't notice any difference because there are plenty of other high voltage power lines to supply electricity to Wichita and surrounding areas.

The only thing customers may have noticed would have been a slight flicker when the fire happened. He says if this had happened during a high-demand time, like the summer when air conditioners are running all over town, it may have had a greater impact on service. | tags:  power plant fire, transformer fire protection, power plant fire sprinklers, transformer fire sprinklers

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