Switch Gear Failure at Grand Coulee Dam - One Injured

Media Contact: Venetia Gempler , (208) 378-5020
Lynne Brougher , (509) 633-9503

For Release: November 18, 2013

GRAND COULEE, Wash. – A Bureau of Reclamation employee was transported by air to Harborview Medical Center with injuries after a fire Monday in the John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant which is believed to have been caused by a switch gear failure. Another employee is being treated locally for smoke inhalation.

All plant employees were evacuated and smoke was seen rising out of the pump generating plant. Response from Reclamation’s Grand Coulee Dam fire department was immediate and the fire is out. Fire departments from Grand Coulee and Electric City also responded in addition to Reclamation fire fighters.

The plant contains six pumps and six pump generators. At the time of the incident, four pumps and five pump generators were undergoing maintenance. The remaining units in the plant were not pumping water into Banks Lake or generating power.

Reclamation will undertake a thorough investigation into the incident.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.