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Updated: DWR Ronald B. Robie Power Plant fire in Oroville


By: CAL FIRE/Butte County Fire Rescue and DWR

November 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM - Fire was declared controlled at 1:30PM today. The multiple aggressive fire attacks made yesterday are credited for the positive outcome of today. Several entries by fire crews into the facility were made this morning to completely extinguish the fire and to assess the damage to the infrastructure within the facility. There is heavy fire, heat and smoke damage to the 1st two floors below grade and smoke damage to the floor above ground level. Entries by fire crews will be made continuously throughout the balance of the day to mitigate any hazards and to assist the Department of Water Resources with any situations that might arise. Fire resources will remain at the incident throughout the night and until mid-day on Saturday.

November 23, 2012 - Cal Fire Butte County responded to a fire in the DWR Ronald B. Robie Power Plant in Oroville yesterday around 7:32 am. Units from Oroville Fire, Chico Fire, Butte County Fire Volunteers also responded.

The structure is 5 stories in size, 1 story above ground and the other 4 below ground. There are 4 generating units within the structure. Heavy fire was found in the control room within the 2nd floor.

The fire extinguishment system activated prior to the firefighters arrival, to no avail.

Multiple hard fought interior attacks of the fire were made. Due to the collapse of power plant heavy equipment within the structure, the extreme distance to the seat of the fire from the outside, zero visibility inside and a multitude of other life threatening hazards within the power plant, fire crews were repositioned to the exterior of the structure.

Due to the type of fire, location of the fire, fire personnel will remain at the incident for several days.

Units from Tehama County, Sutter County and Marysville were requested and responded to cover various Butte County Fire Stations behind the incident.

DWR News Release

Fire of undetermined origin broke out in the State Water Project's Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping-Generating plant near Oroville early this morning, but is not expected to interrupt water deliveries and there were no injuries. No personnel were in the plant when the fire started.

Fire at the plant, four miles west of Oroville in Butte County, was detected about 7 a.m., and was responded to by CAL FIRE. Crews fighting the fire eventually had to exit the facility due to life-threatening dangers from collapsing equipment, zero visibility and other conditions. The fire was stil burning Thursday night. CAL FIRE and DWR continue to monitor the situation.

Thermalito Pumping-Generating Plant is operated in tandem with Hyatt Powerplant beneath Oroville Dam and the nearby Thermalito Diversion Dam powerplant to produce electrical power to pump State Water Project water. Water released from Lake Oroville behind Oroville Dam can be diverted around the pumping-generating plant, so deliveries will not be impacted and no flow changes are expected in the downstream Feather River. Damage to the plant, however, will reduce electrical generation, meaning the Department of Water Resources will have to purchase additional power to pump water.


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