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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fire under investigation at Westar facility in Lawrence

Posted: February 5, 2014 - 4:48am
Updated: February 5, 2014 - 2:01pm

Firefighters from several Douglas County township fire departments are on the scene of a reported building fire at the Westar power plant.

Crews were called to the plant shortly before 4 a.m. on reports of black smoke coming from a heavy equipment building on the property located at 1250 N. 1800 Road.

Arriving crews reported heavy black smoke coming from around the doors of the 60x60ft building.

It took crews about 40 minutes to begin attacking the fire. There were apparent issues with a establishing a solid water supply and the gauges on one fire truck were said to be frozen.

Around 5 a.m. crews were ordered to evacuate the building and begin a defensive attack from the exterior as fire had began burning through the roof.

Crews reported the fire to be under control at 6:48 a.m..

The Kansas state fire marshal's office has been called in to investigate what caused the fire.

No injuries were reported.

Shane Batchelder, a Westar spokesman tells the Lawrence Journal-World, an official cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Batchelder said the fire did not spread beyond the building, which he said houses large equipment like bulldozers. Nothing involved in the production of energy at the plant was affected, Batchelder said.

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