Weekend fire causes temporary shutdown of power plant unit

PNM official says unit will continue operations after investigation

The Daily Times staff
A coal silo at the San Juan Generating Station in Waterflow experienced a structural failure that led to a fire Saturday, but damage was limited, and no injuries were reported.
  • No injuries were reported in the fire.
  • San Juan County fire and rescue crews responded to the plant around 6 p.m. Saturday.
  • The incident has not affected PNM's ability to serve its customers, a spokesman said.

FARMINGTON — The Public Service Co. of New Mexico is investigating a structural failure that led to a fire at the San Juan Generating Station on Saturday.

PNM spokesman Raymond Sandoval said a structural failure in a coal silo that serves Unit 1 at the coal-fired plant caused a fire on Saturday afternoon, according to a press release from San Juan County public relations manager Susan Hakanson. The release also stated area fire and rescue crews responded to the plant just before 6 p.m. Saturday.

PNM spokesman Dan Ware said today the fire damaged a limited area around the silo, but no injuries were reported.

The damaged silo and Unit 1 will remain offline until an investigation into the incident and repairs are complete. Though Ware said he did not know when the investigation will be complete and when the affected unit will resume operations, he said Unit 1 will resume operations when it’s safe to do so.

Only one of the plant’s units — Unit 4 — is currently in operation. PNM shut down units 2 and 3 in December 2017 and is working on plans to shut down all coal-fired operations at the station by 2022.

Saturday’s fire did not affect the company's ability to serve customers, Ware said. PNM is providing replacement power from Unit 4 and from other sources within PNM's power grid.