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173-foot blade falls off wind turbine in Ocotillo; Some residents want turbines gone

SAN DIEGO – Residents are expressing concern after a blade from a wind turbine in Ocotillo broke off and fell to the ground Wednesday night.

“This is a road that my kids are on all the time. This is a road that my family has used for 25 years,” said part-time Ocotillo resident Bill Pate.

The Ocotillo wind turbine farm is located 80 miles east of San Diego.

The base of the turbine to the tip of the blade extends 439 feet high, “which is as tall as any building in downtown San Diego almost; there’s only a couple buildings taller,” said Pate.

The blade that fell is 173 feet long and stretches the length of a wing on a 747 airplane.

“So think about that, falling from the sky, falling from a height higher than the Coronado Bay Bridge,” said Pate.

Jim Pelly, who lives about half a mile from where it all happened, was the first one to see it and snapped several pictures just before sunrise.

He told 10News the turbines should withstand winds up to 56 mph for 10 minutes.

“Throughout the night, I checked and they were up to 19 miles per hour, maximum; the wind gusts were at 29 miles per hour,” Pelly said.

Pate is concerned about the location, telling 10News, “These wind turbines here are very close to the Lake Elsinore fault.”

Some residences told 10News the turbines have divided the community and many want them gone.

“I’m completely in favor of green energy, but the right projects in the right locations,” said Pate.