Power plant turbine explodes

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City of Thief River Falls power plant.

The Law Enforcement Center received a report of an explosion this morning around 1:00 am from the Thief River Falls Power plant, located adjacent to the dam on the Red Lake River. The Thief River Falls Fire Department and Thief River Falls Police Department responded to the call and discovered that one of the water turbines which produces electricity for the city had exploded. In a phone call to Thief River Falls Radio, Mayor Brian Holmer said that although there was a lot of damage to the turbine, no one was at the power plant at the time so there were no injuries. He also wanted to assure residents of Thief River Falls that they will have electricity.
During the incident, turbine number two was damaged however turbine number one continues to run. Turbine two was last rewound in 1960 while turbine one was last rewound in 1992. The turbines were originaly installed in 1927.
Dana Klos, former city of Thief RIver Falls employee, was able to share some historical information about the power plant. The land for the plant was originally purchased by the city from William Kretschmeier (Krets-Myer) in 1888. It was originally the site for a crush mill. In 1892, the city then commissioned General Electric to design a facility to produce electricity to power their “white way” lights, some of which still exist at Pioneer Village. Interestingly, two of the diesel engines that produce electricity were purchased from decommissioned submarines after World War Two and the combination of water turbines and diesel engines helped many people maintain their homes during the ice storm of 1997.

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