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Power Outage Update: Loud Noise at Randolph Harley Power Plant Due to Safety Device

WAPA’s power plant on St. Thomas (Source file photo)

V.I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA) crews working to address the ongoing power outage on St. Thomas-St. John encountered another disruption mid-Thursday and were evacuated after officials said the activation of a safety device in the Randolph Harley plant caused a “loud bang” that sounded like an explosion.

WAPA Chief Executive Officer Andy Smith added that the safety device – specifically, a draft shaft disk – is designed to fail to protect its generator, and once that happens, a safety protocol is triggered.

There was no explosion or fire, he said, which V.I. Police Department officials also confirmed. The Source is still waiting for confirmation from V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, which was still on scene at around 1:30 p.m. Thursday to assess the plant.

“We want to reassure the public there were no injuries and the loud noise was simply the activation of a safety device called a rupture disk,” WAPA added in its release. “This device is designed to protect the system and equipment in such situations.”

Following established emergency evacuation procedures, personnel safely left the area as a precaution. “Repair crews also remain on site assessing the situation and taking all necessary steps to ensure the plant’s safety and security,” according to the statement.

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