PETERSON, Iowa -- A lightening strike started a fire in a wind turbine Saturday morning, destroying the turbine and one of three new blades that had been laid out on the ground beneath it in order to be installed as replacements. Damages totaled $760,000, according to Peterson Fire Chief John Winterboer.
The turbine was owned by Aes Wind Generation Inc., of Alta Iowa.
Winterboer said the call came in at 7:30 a.m., but firefighters were on the scene until 3:30 p.m. because they had to wait for the turbine and its three blades to burn enough to fall the 210 feet to the ground before they could extinguish the smoky blaze.
Winterboer said the company valued the turbine at $700,000 and the new blades at $60,000 each. He said his department was able to save two of the new blades. "We got the fire out and saved them," he said on Sunday.
Passersby who called 911 initially reported several turbines were on fire, Winterboer said, but it was only drifting smoke they saw amongst other nearby turbines.
Although Peterson is in Clay County and the burning turbine was is Buena Vista County, the Peterson Fire Department was the closest and got the call. Winterboer said that was the third or fourth turbine fire his department had put out in about 12 years.