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Wind turbine catches fire in Chandler Township

This wind turbine in Chandler Township caught fire on Christmas Day. Exelon Generation, the company that owns the Harvest II wind farm, will investigate the cause of the fire. (Robert Creenan/Huron Daily Tribune)

CHANDLER TOWNSHIP – A wind turbine in Chandler Township caught fire in the early Christmas morning hours, damaging its powerhead and one of its blades.

The turbine is part of the Harvest II Wind Project owned by Exelon Generation, the second part of a wind farm whose first phase began operations in 2008. Harvest II’s second phase started operating in 2012.

Turbine #7 is located south of Crown Road and east of Gagetown Road.

Jeff Smith, the Huron County building and zoning director, said Exelon informed him on Monday morning that an investigation will take place in order to determine the cause of the fire and figure out if the turbine can be repaired or replaced.

Smith said the investigation could take weeks due to the amount of mobilization needed. Security will also be at the site so that only authorized personnel will be allowed.

Since the turbine is located in Chandler Township, which is self-zoned rather than county zoned, the issue falls under the township zoning jurisdiction.

Bill Renn, the Chandler Township supervisor and zoning administrator, said he was contacted by Exelon on Christmas morning about the fire, and the investigation will happen as soon as possible.

“We’ll leave it up to Exelon, it’s their property,” Renn said. “They’ll pass onto us what they found out.”

Renn added that if parts need to be replaced, they will be informed of how much of it will be replaced and which parts.

A statement from Exelon said that as an additional safety precaution, operators powered down the remaining turbines while first responders established a perimeter around the impacted unit.

“The fire went out soon after and no injuries were reported,” the statement reads. “Technicians will remove and inspect the turbine to determine the cause of the fire.”

The Harvest II wind farm was the site of another turbine fire that occurred in April 2019, with Turbine #17 located near Elkton and Campbell roads.

The Harvest II wind farm has 33 turbines across Chandler, Oliver, and McKinley townships that produce 59.4 MW of power. Harvest I has 31 turbines across Chandler and Oliver townships that produce 52.8 MW of power.