Transformer fire leads to explosion at Hoover Dam; no injuries reported

Officials said a transformer exploded Tuesday morning at Hoover Dam.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 10:36 AM PDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:06 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A transformer at the Hoover Dam burst into flames Tuesday morning, leading to an emergency response and thick, black plumes of smoke.

Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director Jacklynn L. Gould said around 10 a.m., the A5 transformer caught fire and was extinguished at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Gould said there were no injuries to visitors or employees. There was also no risk to the power grid and power was still being generated from the powerhouse.

“It’s my understanding it was probably a piece of equipment that wore out,” said Doug Hendrix, Deputy Public Affairs Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado River. “Certainly on the transformer side of the power plant, you have little more static electricity, and power moving, so you have the potential sometimes for static or warmer temperatures in that part of the equipment. But we have a lot of fire suppression equipment and redundant capability to put that out very quickly.”

Boulder City Fire Department said that the fire was extinguished when crews arrived.

A video shared on social media showed an explosion occurring at the dam Tuesday morning.

Another angle of the fire was posted on TikTok:

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

“Our people were very quick to react,” said Hendrix. “Maintenance crews are there, working 24-seven down here... The fire was very isolated to that unit on the Arizona side.”

Employees at the dam said they heard a loud fire alarm go off.

Hendrix is grateful no one was hurt.

“You can replace parts, you can replace machines, but you can’t replace a human life, so we’re very grateful,” said Hendrix.

The Hoover Dam generates, on average, about 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power each year for use in Nevada, Arizona, and California, enough to serve roughly a million people, according to the bureau.

Hendrix said he does not believe there was a disruption in power anywhere.

The viewing areas of the dam stayed open for the vast majority of the day Tuesday as crowds of tourists took in the sights.