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Fire extinguished at Manatee County Florida Power and Light power plant, officials say

FPL breaks ground on state’s biggest solar facility in Manatee

Florida Power & Light Co. broke ground Feb. 11 on its Manatee Solar Energy Center at the company's Manatee Power plant. The 74.5-megawatt installation is one of three the company is building concurrently in Manatee, Desoto and Charlotte counties.
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Florida Power & Light Co. broke ground Feb. 11 on its Manatee Solar Energy Center at the company's Manatee Power plant. The 74.5-megawatt installation is one of three the company is building concurrently in Manatee, Desoto and Charlotte counties.

Firefighters put out a fire at a Florida Power and Light power plant in Manatee County on Friday morning, according to officials.

Several fire units were called to the Florida Power and Light Manatee Energy Center, 19050 State Road 62, in Parrish just before 9 a.m. Friday to respond to the fire.

FPL spokesman Richard Beltran said the fire occurred in power generation equipment at the plant.

The flames were contained to the third floor of the building that housed the equipment and were quickly put out, Parrish Fire District division chief Michael Williamson said.

The fire was contained, under control and put out in about 20 minutes, Williamson said. But the salvage and overhaul of the protective barrier took hours. Getting resources up to the third floor was also a challenge for firefighters.

Williamson said the fire was caused by mechanical failure of a hydraulic line that sprayed fluid onto insulation, which ignited. The insulation housed a steam turbine engine that runs the plant which operates at about 2,000 degrees, he said. Because of the temperature, firefighters were not able to use water to put out the flames. Instead, they used special extinguishers.

Firefighters also needed to tear apart the insulation and cut through melted steel mesh, according to Williamson.

The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported, Beltran said.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion but is OK, Williamson said.

Damage to the equipment is being assessed by FPL, but the extent is unknown. Williamson said that process could take weeks.

Beltran added FPL customers should not be affected by the fire, as they have an “ample supply of power.”

Parrish Fire District was assisted by North River and East Manatee fire districts as well as Manatee County EMS.

FPL Manatee energy center- DUPLICATE
In this 2017 file photo, the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center’s at the power plant in Parrish solar panels stand in contrast to smoke stacks where fossil fuel is used to generate electricity. Herald file photo

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