4-alarm fire at Martin Drake Power Plant initially ruled an accident

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A four-alarm fire at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs Monday is initially being ruled an accident.

Investigators say the initial phase of the investigation has determined the fire was the a result of "free flowing lubricating oil coming in contact with high temperature steam pipes which resulted in the flash fire."

Investigators said the oil kept flowing, feeding the fire.

"The investigation will be ongoing and may take several weeks to determine all the factors surrounding the cause of the fire," officials said in a news release.

Firefighters said the fire caused "very serious" damage to at least one turbine and a control deck inside the plant.

The fire ignited at 9:40 a.m. It took 120 firefighters and crew three hours to get the fire under control.

Firefighters reported heavy flames on three floors of the coal-powered facility, which houses three turbines and normally supplies power to one-third of that community. The three generator units were first brought online in 1962, 1968 and 1974.

John Romero of Colorado Springs Utilities says the organization is making up for the loss of 254 megawatts taken offline by the fire with power from three other plants and spot purchases.

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