By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – U.S. authorities were investigating an explosion Tuesday that rocked a transformer at the Hoover Dam, one of the nation’s largest hydroelectric facilities, but caused no causalities.
Witnesses saw a thick cloud of black smoke and flames at the engineering marvel on the Colorado River that straddles the border of the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada.
The blaze was extinguished within about 30 minutes before firefighters from the Boulder City fire department arrived on scene, the Nevada city reported.
“We arrived at the scene and turned away. Everything was all set,” added Lisa LaPlante, Boulder City communications manager. “The fire was extinguished.”
Electricity produced at Hoover Dam continued flowing to the 8 million people in Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California who rely on it, the Western Area Power Administration confirmed.
Yet authorities began investigating how an explosion could occur on the apron of the building housing turbines slightly downstream from the dam’s base.
Officials are also working to determine the extent of damage to the transformer, one of 15 at the complex that control the voltages for power sent to customers
The Hoover Dam, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Las Vegas, is one of the tallest concrete dams in the U.S., at 726 feet (221 meters). Each of its 17 generators can supply electricity to 100,000 households.
Hydropower from these and other dams has been threatened lately by the declining levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two largest human-made reservoirs in the U.S. that hold water from the Colorado River.
Federal officials say they have tried to prop up the lakes to preserve the dams’ ability to generate power and keep water flowing to the Western states and Mexico that rely on it.
The lakes have sunk to their lowest levels in decades due to drought that activists have linked to climate change.
The cause of the fire was under investigation, and officials were working to determine the extent of damage to the transformer, one of 15 at the complex that controls the voltages for power sent to customers.
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