2018-03-11 / News

Fan at KWA plant results in fire response to new facility

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

OREGON TWP. — A seized fan is being blamed for an incident that filled a treatment room at the Genesee County Water Treatment Plant at the intersection of Marathon and Stanley roads with a smoky haze Wednesday afternoon.

Columbiaville Fire Dept. Asst. Chief Greg Baker said his department was sent to the plant shortly after 5 p.m. after employees noticed smoke on the roof.

Genesee County Deputy Drain Commissioner Kevin Sylvester said firefighters were called as a precaution. “At no time was there any active fire at the facility,” he said.

Baker said his firefighters found a fan in one of the building’s 10 air handler units had seized, which caused a fan belt to smoke. “It took a while to find it,” Baker said.

He said that while there was a blue-gray haze of smoke in the plant’s treatment room, there was never any open flame.

Baker said as soon as the belt was removed from the seized fan, the smoke stopped.

“They’ve had a run of luck out there,” said Lt. Blaine Howell. He said the department has been sent out several times after water treatment chemicals being mixed triggered smoke alarms.

The $72 million, 94,000-square-foot plant began pumping treated water to Genesee County in November. The plant treats water from the Karegnondi Water Authority’s (KWA) 67-mile-long pipeline from Lake Huron.

Sylvester said, “There was not any imminent risk to on-site employees, and the water treatment process was not interrupted or affected.

The Genesee County Drain Commissioner’s office would like to thank the fire departments and emergency officials who swiftly responded to the facility.”

Baker said Columbiaville was assisted on scene Wednesday by Lapeer Fire & Rescue, which is standard for structure fires.

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