Outage Affects 1,093 in South Scappoose

Photo by PUD Field Engineer Mike Arend

December 22, 2014 – An electrical pole-mounted transformer near the corner of Highway 30 and Bonneville Drive in Scappoose caught fire this morning, causing a one-hour outage for 1,093 customers of Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) in the south Scappoose area.

The fire was first reported at 6:10 AM, although there were no outages at that time. The PUD’s serviceman and firefighters from the Scappoose Fire District responded to the call and secured the area. In order to safely extinguish the fire, additional PUD crews were called in and they de-energized the power line serving the transformer at 7:15 AM, causing the outage for customers in the surrounding area. Firefighters then extinguished the fire and PUD line crews re-energized the power line at 8:12 AM.

The transformer that caught fire was acquired from PGE in 1984 when the PUD began providing electric service in the area. Its failure was likely age-related, said Interim General Manager Steve Hursh.

“When an older transformer fails, it usually just blows a fuse and causes an outage for the customers connected to it,” said Hursh. “It’s uncommon, but not unheard of, for one to catch fire like this one did.”

Hursh thanked the Scappoose Fire District for their assistance in responding to the fire and to routing traffic past the fire during the morning commute.