Heavy damage in Xcel conveyor fire

OFFICIALS are estimating damage at $US1 million following a conveyor belt fire last weekend at an Xcel coal-fired power plant in Colorado.

Donna Schmidt

Firefighters told the Associated Press the blaze occurred about 12.30am Saturday.

It was focused on an overland conveyor belt line about 180 feet above the Comanche facility in Pueblo, about 100 miles from Denver.

The line moves coal from incoming trains to storage bunkers for later use.

According to initial reports, the AP said a subcontractor was welding on the conveyor system when sparks ignited the coal and coal residue-laden belts.

Additionally, some burning pieces of conveyor fell into a stack of coal, which also subsequently caught fire.

In all, about 300ft of infrastructure was impacted by the blaze.

Because the structure was under construction, its fire sprinkler system was not operational.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

Xcel has so far not offered public comment.

Pueblo Fire Department officials, confirming that firefighting efforts took about three hours, told the news service that Xcel’s facility could remain in operation while repairs were made.

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