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Chief: Fire At Allatoona Dam Started In Powerhouse

No one was hurt in the blaze, which started Monday afternoon in the powerhouse's subbasement in Cartersville.

Credit: Patch file
Credit: Patch file
A fire that erupted at Allatoona Dam Monday afternoon started in its powerhouse.

That's according to Bartow County Fire-Rescue Chief Craig Millsap, who said his team and the Cartersville Fire Department both responded to the call of an electrical fire at the Dam around 3:30 p.m.

The powerhouse is a separate structure, and is where the electrical connections are housed for the Dam located on Allatoona Dam Road. 

Millsap said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were doing renovations at the powerhouse, and were upgrading wires, transformers and other items that were last replaced during the 1950s. The power had been turned off during the renovations. 

Power was restored to the building, and that's when the fire started, he added. Fire crews were able to get the fire under control by 7:40 p.m. Monday, but first responders remained on the scene until about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday to make sure no hot spots sparked another blaze.

There were no injuries, and the dam was not damaged. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers noted the power outage was scheduled so repairs could be made to the switchyard. However, when the system was re-energized, a breaker failure ignited the fire, according to the Corps' press release.

Now, the water will now be released through the spillway gates rather than generators due to the fire. The gates will be used to manage lake levels and "for downstream environmental purposes." 

"There will be essentially no difference in normal water volumes released," said public affairs officer E. Patrick Robbins. "The difference is that when using the spillway gates it is essentially a 24-hour per day release, rather than the two to six-hour peak hydropower releases, but the water quantity is basically the same."

Millsap said the fire was a "tricky situation," as it started in a subbasement at the powerhouse, which he said was several feet below grade. However, he said he was "very proud" of the response and work done by the men and women of both agencies.

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