“We got on scene to find heavy smoke and fire,” says Jay Deboer, deputy chief for the McBain Fire Department.
Fire way up at the top of a wind turbine.
We caught on camera the third blade slamming to the ground in flames.
Fire crews arrived just after one-thirty on Tuesday, but realized there was little they could do about it.
All three blades came crashing down, which was a frightening experience for people living in the area.
The turbine owned by Heritage Sustainable Energy in the Stoney Corners Wind Farm in McBain, between County Line and Lucas Roads in Missaukee County.
9&10’s Megan Atwood was on scene of the fire and talked with the family who owns the property where the turbine once stood.
“Unfortunately with the hazards because of the heavy machinery that’s up there, there’s not much that we could do until it falls down or wait until the point that it’s safe and we can send somebody up there to make an inspection,” says Jay Deboer, the Deputy Chief for McBain Fire Department.
A wind turbine in flames. Fire crews had to sit back and wait it out.
For nearby homeowners, it was a shocking sight.
“We couldn’t believe it was on fire. We were amazed,” says Larry Pluger.
Larry Pluger says he arrived at home minutes before this turbine caught fire and couldn’t believe his eyes. This is what he was seeing in his backyard.
“We just got home from working and we sat on our chairs and I got a call from my son Kevin and he said did you call 911? And I said why? He said the windmill is on fire,” Pluger goes on to say.
Heritage Sustainable Energy owns the turbine and says this has never happened before in McBain.
“All of these machines are monitored remotely so there was a fault at some point. The fire is out but we’ll continue to monitor just in case of the remainder of the evening and into the night,” says Rick Wilson, Vice President of Operations for Heritage Sustainable Energy.
The company even offering help if anyone nearby needed it.
“They said we could’ve gotten a motel tonight if our house smelled, they would put us up,” continues Larry Pluger.
This wind farm designed to keep people living near it safe, in case something like this ever happens.
“We keep them well away from any houses or residents so there is no danger under any condition. Once in a while we have accidents like this that occur but safety precautions are very well adhered to and we take great care in that,” continues Wilson.
“We thought sometimes some of the ashes might land on our house, but they didn’t. The fire department was all around and it was real windy,” Pluger goes on to say.
The energy company will investigate to figure out what went wrong.