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An early morning fire near the Ames Power Plant shut down operations for over two hours Tuesday, with one plant worker injured.

Firefighters responded to smoke coming from the refuse derived fuel (RDF) bin located near the Ames Power Plant around 6 a.m., after plant employees noticed smoke, called the fire department, and activated the sprinkler system, Ames city officials said.

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The RDF bin, located in the coal yard south of the Ames Power Plant in Ames, CO, stores RDF from the Resource Recovery Plant.

Once firefighters were able to isolate the cause of the smoke, they deactivated the sprinkler system and operations resumed around 8:30 a.m., said Ames Power Plant Operations Superintendent Curtis Spence.

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Spence said the fire ended up contained in the bin, and just burned the trash already heading to the boiler.

“As soon as we found out from our inspections that we were okay to run the equipment, and everything was in control, then we went ahead and started it back up,” Spence said.

Spence said there was no damage to the storage bin. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but due to the working order of the equipment, any bearing malfunction has been ruled out.

One employee at the Ames Power Plant went Mary Greeley Medical Center for treatment as a precaution after losing consciousness several times, however Spence said he was assured the worker was in good condition.

Spence said he was glad they were able to limit damages no one was seriously hurt.

“I was pretty impressed with the response of our employees as well as the fire department; seems like everyone got over there rather quickly,” Spence said. “It can be a situation where things can accelerate rather fast given the fuel that’s in there.”

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