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Transformer explosion, fire causes major power outage

by Mike Eckels | April 3, 2015 at 8:34 a.m.

— A transformer explosion at a power substation near Decatur was the cause of a major power outage in the Decatur and Gentry area on Thursday evening.

The Empire District substation where the explosion ocurred is located just south of Decatur, off Arkansas Highway 59 and west of the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks. The explosion, which could be heard three miles away, was reported around 7 p.m.

Units from Decatur, Gentry and Gravette Fire Departments responded to the call.

“We just returned to the (fire) station after responding to a brush fire when we heard the explosion,” said Jeremy Luker, Decatur fire chief.” One of our guys living near the power station called the fire in to us.”

The fire put up thick black smoke which was visible as far away as Gravette and Gentry. Near the fire, visibility was reduced to less than half a mile.

“We had to wait until Empire shut down the power to the station before we could put the fire out,” Luker said.

Empire District sent a temporary transformer from Joplin, Mo., to restore power to its customers.

The cause of the transformer failure was yet to be determined.

Print Headline: Transformer explosion, fire causes major power outage

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