VAN WERT – The investigation into the destruction of a crane at the site of a wind turbine in northern Van Wert County is continuing. The half-million dollar piece of equipment was destroyed by fire during the early morning hours of July 3, and three gas-powered flood lights were smashed by vandals.
Early that morning, a neighbor happened to notice that at a turbine site near the intersection of John Yoh Rd. and Mohr Rd. that something was burning. He determined that it was the crane that was on fire. The crane had just been brought to that site two days earlier to begin work erecting the turbine. Grover Hill Fire Department responded to the scene, and the Van Wert County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office conduction on-scene investigations.
According to the Sheriff’s Office report, the vandalism appeared to have been caused by persons riding four-wheelers. Footprints of at least two different persons were found along with tire tracks from ATVs. The speculation is that the vandals had hooked the flood lights with the crane, and after starting up the heavy machinery, the lights were swung and dropped to the ground, one landing in the pit where the turbine was to be built. The cable of the crane was broken and twisted.
It appears that the people involved decided to set fire to the crane once the cable was broken. Several items were taken from the cab. The fire is thought to have started either directly under the cab seat or directly behind it.
Aside from the complete loss of the crane and the flood lights, several items were reported missing from the job site, including a gas-powered water pump valued at $5,000, a smaller submersible pump valued at $400 and six to eight orange traffic cones. The investigation is continuing.
The construction of the Blue Creek Wind Farm by Iberdrola Renewables is expected to continue through 2012 in northern Van Wert County and southern Paulding County.
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