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Workers seek cause of DU substation fire

By Catherine Godbey 340-2441

"It violently erupted."

That's how Stan Keenum, Decatur Utilities interim general manager, recounted the event.

Keenum was describing a substation fire that occurred Tuesday night on Modaus Road Southwest to members of the DU board Wednesday.

He said the station combusted at 7:30 p.m., causing a 55-minute power outage to a portion of Southwest Decatur.

Why did the substation catch fire?

DU crews spent Wednesday searching the substation for an answer.

"Right now we just don't know what caused it," Keenum said. "An occurrence like this is extremely rare."

Keenum believes a leak from the oil switch contributed to the fire and he gives credit to the DU workers for a safe and timely response.

DU checks switches at substations once a year. Three months ago, workers tested the switches at the Modaus Road substation.

At that time, the switches appeared to be in good condition and functioning properly.

Workers know the oil switch was leaking, but do not know how long or how the leak turned into a fire.

The crews inspecting the substation could not find any foreign substance that would result in a fire.

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