WEBER CANYON, Utah — A historic Weber Canyon building was lost last night after lightning struck a power pole at a nearby hydroelectric facility, sparking a fire.
Lightning struck a power pole at the Rocky Mountain Power Hydroelectric facility in Weber Canyon at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, according to a statement from the Mountain Green Fire Protection District.
The resulting fire burned through the power pole, causing a transformer to fall and set the nearby 100-year-old spillway control house on fire.
Mountain Green firefighters responded to the scene and awaited the arrival of Rocky Mountain Power employees to turn off power to the hydroelectric facility.
The firefighters called for reinforcements from the Morgan County Fire and EMS, Weber Fire District, South Weber Fire Department and the Utah DNR when the power pole broke and began raining flaming debris on the control house and grass.
“Fire crews were helpless to approach the building fire due to live electric wires and equipment on fire and threatening to fall on firefighters,” said a statement from the Mountain Green Fire Protection District. “Thunderstorms in the area caused Rocky Mountain Power to be delayed in arriving at the scene. Access was further hampered by the location of the structure 5 feet from the UP Railroad right-of-way.”
Firefighters lobbed water onto the fire from a great distance due to is inaccessible location and the threat of electrocution.
“Wires were threatening to drop onto the metal bridge of the dam, or electrify the metal fence that encircles the facility,” said a statement from the Mountain Green Fire Protection District. “No fire hydrants in the area meant water had to be ‘drafted’ from the river which is a difficult operation requiring an engine to get very close to the river without sinking in the mud.”
Units were able to clear the scene in approximately 6 hours. The control house was a total loss. No injuries were reported.