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Blazing Turbine 'Like a Catherine Wheel'

The turbine which caught fire had been suffering from an oil leak and had been undergoing repairs earlier in the day. Engineers thought they had fixed the problem, but when they tested the turbine it caught fire.

A wind turbine powering a North-East car plant was left a twisted knot of blackened metal last night after a huge blaze which could be seen for miles around.

The fire at Nissan in Washington is thought to have been caused by a mechanical fault and was witnessed by hundreds of stunned motorists on the A19 as the turbine's carbon fibre rotor blades caught fire and broke off.

Last night, firefighters who tackled the blaze said they had received more than 200 calls while eyewitnesses claimed the turbine had looked like "a giant flaming Catherine wheel".

Car manufacturers Nissan last night said a full investigation into the cause of the fire had been launched, but no-one had been hurt in the accident, which left the multi-million pound turbine a charred and smouldering wreck.

Washington Fire officer Tony Brown said: "The fire was 55 metres above ground level, so it was quite difficult to deal with. When we arrived the blades had already caught fire and black smoke was billowing across the sky.

"There was a danger of the blades breaking off and we were concerned they could have flown off and hit a vehicle on the A19. They were 23 metres long and moving at some speed. They could not be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A wind turbine powering a North-East car plant was left a twisted knot of blackened metal last night after a huge blaze which could be seen for miles around.

The fire at Nissan in Washington is thought to have been caused by a mechanical fault and was witnessed by hundreds of stunned motorists on the A19 as the turbine's carbon fibre rotor blades caught fire and broke off.

Last night, firefighters who tackled the blaze said they had received more than 200 calls while eyewitnesses claimed the turbine had looked like "a giant flaming Catherine wheel".

Car manufacturers Nissan last night said a full investigation into the cause of the fire had been launched, but no-one had been hurt in the accident, which left the multi-million pound turbine a charred and smouldering wreck.

Washington Fire officer Tony Brown said: "The fire was 55 metres above ground level, so it was quite difficult to deal with. When we arrived the blades had already caught fire and black smoke was billowing across the sky.

"There was a danger of the blades breaking off and we were concerned they could have flown off and hit a vehicle on the A19. They were 23 metres long and moving at some speed. They could not be stopped because the brake had been damaged by the fire, so we had to keep our distance and decided to close roads in the area.

"At this stage it appears to have been some sort of mechanical fault."

The turbine is one of six at the plant and they supply the plant with 5% of its annual electricity. The 750-acre site cost pounds 2m to build and was switched on last month.

A Nissan spokesman said: "The turbine which caught fire had been suffering from an oil leak and had been undergoing repairs earlier in the day. Engineers thought they had fixed the problem, but when they tested the turbine it caught fire.

"No-one was hurt, but a full investigation into the cause has been launched."

Jason Lloyd, 18, of Queen Street, Birtley, was on the bus when he saw the turbine burst into flames.

He said: "There was smoke coming out of one of the blades. Then the whole thing was just missing. There were just flames coming off it, but the top wasn't there any more."

A Nissan employee, who did not want to be named, said: "The blades spinning around on fire looked like a flaming Catherine wheel. You couldn't take your eyes off it."

Source: http://www.industrywatch.co...

DEC 24 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/825-blazing-turbine-like-a-catherine-wheel
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