A fire at Philpott Dam last month in Virginia destroyed equipment already slated to be replaced. One of the switches that carries electricity from the dam’s generators to the power grid exploded, causing a fire in the control room. No one was in the control room at the time.
According to a report from The Roanoke Times, the blast took place in the basement of the powerhouse and was under control within an hour. The explosion did not cause structural damage to the dam.
The investigation into what caused the explosion is continuing. However, the switchgear system that was destroyed is in the process of being replaced with a more modern system, a project that the Army Corps of Engineers has been working on for several months.
The system that was destroyed was about 65 years old. The new system will have more modern safety features and be housed in a separate building to further minimize the chance of injuries in the event of a system failure.
As of now, there will be no power generation at the dam until the new switchgear building is completed and the new equipment brought online.