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Wind turbine blaze 'contained' north of Goderich, Ont.

Todd Edginton could hardly believe his eyes when he looked out his back door to find a wind turbine on fire. He wasn’t alone, as people stopped just north of Goderich to see the spectacle unfold.

“I was going back to the cottage along Highway 21 from Goderich, and saw this. I said to myself, ‘Something odd is going on here,’ so I came looking to see what was happening,” said Listowel native, Warren Howard.

Salman Hossain was heading to Goderich’s beach from Toronto when he saw smoke in the distance.

“At first, I thought nobody saw it, and I should call 9-1-1, but then you [Scott Miller] showed up, and told me what was going on,” said Hossain.

What Hossain and Howard saw was thick black smoke streaming from the top of a towering wind turbine, just off of Golf Course Road, two concessions north of Goderich.

Goderich fire crews responded to a blaze that engulfed a wind turbine north of Goderich, Ont. on June 3, 2023. (Source: Submitted)

The fire was spotted around 6:30 a.m. By, 9 a.m., the main fire, which was centred on the nacelle, or main mechanical and electrical box atop the turbine, was out. But, flames continued to spread down one of the blades.

Goderich fire crews remained on scene for much of the day to ensure nothing falling from the turbine sparked a fire on the ground. Extreme dry conditions sparked a burn ban in Huron and Bruce County earlier this week.

“You’ve got to be careful about these things. Luckily, there’s no crops in the fields. We’re dry, but there’s nothing to burn at the moment,” said Howard, who also works for Wind Concerns Ontario and sits on the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group.

Fire crews tackled a blaze that had engulfed a wind turbine near Goderich, Ont. on June 3, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

Because the fire was so high off the ground, nearly 100 metres up, firefighters couldn’t actually put it out. It appears the turbine has a fire suppression system, and the fire simply burned itself out, although Capital Power, who operates the 22 turbine Kingsbridge 1 Wind Farm, where Saturday’s fire happened, said an incident investigation will tell them more.

This is the second wind turbine fire at the Kingsbridge 1 Wind Farm, which was constructed in 2006. The last fire in 2013 was very similar, with damage focused on the nacelle, and fire crews forced to watch the fire from the ground.

Howard thinks sprinkler systems should be mandatory on all Ontario wind turbines.

“You can’t get up to the thing they call the ‘nacelles,’ so you gotta have sprinkler systems up there when fires start. There’s a lot of oil up there,” he explained.

Goderich fire crews responded to a blaze that engulfed a wind turbine north of Goderich, Ont. on June 3, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

No one was injured in Saturday’s turbine blaze, which was contained to the single turbine. It’s unclear how long or how much it will cost to fix the damaged turbine, but the next few weeks will be busy for the wind farm operators, Capital Power, as they investigate the damage done 100 metres in the air.

“They do have a risk. I think there’s been 10 in Ontario over the past 10 years that have failed in various ways,” said Howard.

Hossain added that he’s glad no one was hurt, but it’s hard to turn away from the unique spectacle of a fire in a place you wouldn’t expect to see on fire.

“I actually made a video. A TikTok. Like here’s the beautiful view, and this is not so beautiful,” he said. Top Stories

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