INDIANA –A “hellish” fire broke out at the Northern Indiana Public Service Company [NIPSCO] plant in Wheatfield on Friday after a transformer exploded, prompting an evacuation as plumes of smoke could be seen from far away.
United Steelworkers Local 12775 said the cause of the blast was a 345,000 volt transformer explosion. There were no injuries reported.
“Schahfer power plant’s Unit 14, 345,000 volt power transformer blew up today creating a hellish fire,” the union said in a statement.
“Fortunately no one was injured. The equipment and buildings will be evaluated for extent of damage in the next several days.”
NIPSCO made a statement in the afternoon saying that the fire had been put out before the night ended.
“The earlier fire at NIPSCO’s R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, IN was fully extinguished before 9 pm CT tonight,” the utility company said in a statement on Friday afternoon. “No injuries were reported. We continue to work to ensure the safety of the area.”
The company said that no customers had been impacted as a result of the fire, and announced it would be launching an investigation into the matter.
“This afternoon, a fire was reported inside NIPSCO’s R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield, IN. A portion of the facility was evacuated. No injuries have been reported and no customers have been impacted. NIPSCO is working closely with the local fire department and first responders to secure the safety of the area. An investigation will take place to determine the cause of the fire.”