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Fire Shuts Down Portion of San Juan Generating Station


A fire broke out in a coal silo at a power plant near Farmington, New Mexico, on Saturday afternoon, but it was quickly contained and no one was injured. According to a statement by Public Service Company of New Mexico, which operates the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station, a structural failure in a silo serving one of the plant’s four units caused the blaze. PNM spokesman Dan Ware told KSJD he did not know how quickly the fire was extinguished but that it did not take long and when crews with the San Juan County Fire Department arrived, “there wasn’t much for them to do.” Damage reportedly was limited to the area around the silo. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. According to the PNM release, the unit involved, Unit 1, has been shut down and will remain off-line “until all assessments and repairs are complete.” That leaves just one unit functioning out of four at the station, built nearly a half-century ago. Two others were shut down in December so the plant could comply with federal air-quality regulations. According to PNM, the single unit is sufficient to provide power as usual to the plant’s customers. The plant itself is scheduled to close by 2022 as power providers move to cleaner sources of energy than coal.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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