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Fire ruins turbine at wind farm  

A wind turbine caught fire in Birds Landing early Monday, but investigators have yet to identify what caused the flames.

The fire, on the top portion and on the blades of the 200-foot turbine, was discovered around 5:30 a.m. by employees of FPL Energy – High Winds. The turbine that caught fire was one of 90 the company maintains in the 6700 block of Birds Landing Road near Rio Vista.

Van Culver, high winds plant leader for FPLE, said by early afternoon the company was still assessing the risk of climbing the tower to get a closer look.

“We’re still investigating the root cause,” Culver said. “We’re making sure it’s secure and there is no risk.”

After noticing the fire atop the turbine, Culver said the company notified the fire department which ultimately decided to let the fire burn itself out. Culver said that took about three hours.

While the turbine fire was out by morning, the blades continued to burn throughout the afternoon. Those blades – which extend the height of the turbine about 120 feet – are made of fiberglass and balsa wood and dropped embers as they burned.

Culver said although the instances are rare, turbines do occasionally catch on fire. He was happy no further damage or injuries occurred. General Manager Kevin Gordon said the estimated damage was $1.5 million.

• Reporter Photo Editor Rick Roach contributed to this report.

By Danny Bernardini

The Reporter

11 March 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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