Road closed, homes evacuated as BPA facility burns


RAVENSDALE, Wash. - A Bonneville Power Administration facility at 30725 SE Retreat-Kanasket Road in the Black Diamond-Ravensdale area was on fire on Monday evening.

Maple Valley Fire spokesman Matt Cowan said that a transformer unit at the facility was burning.

The Retreat-Kanasket Road was closed. 

Cowan said that a few homes were evacuated because of concerns that there were toxic PCBs in the transformer which could be sent out by the flames and smoke. However, a BPA spokesperson said the transformer was filled mostly with mineral oil, not PCBs, and the smoke was not toxic. 

The spokesperson said that there was no outage as a result of the fire. The facility sends electricity to millions of people, from Washington to California.

Boeing brought a special airport rig to foam the flames. Firefighters stayed far away, because the transformer was still charged with a huge amount of power. 

There were no injuries.