'Exploding transformer' shuts down Caltex
EMERGENCY services say a blaze that erupted outside a Warwick service station last night and had 2600 Southern Downs homes lose power was no threat to the popular truck stop or nearby properties.
The blaze was caused by sparks erupting from a transformer outside the Caltex Service Station on the Cunningham Hwy at Sladevale just before 7pm last night.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency spokesman said three fire crews from Warwick were on scene last night and were able to control the flames by 8.30.
"Ergon Energy were on scene as well as the greater concern was keeping vehicles nearby from coming into contact with fallen cables from the transformer," he said.
"Nothing came through about an immediate threat to the truck stop and crews were able to stop it spreading to surrounding grassland.
"The last of the crews had left the scene by 8.50 and left the it in the hands of Ergon and Caltex management."
Ergon Energy southern region communications manager Rod Rehbein said a sparking transformer was typically indicative of a fault elsewhere in the network.
Mr Rehbein said there was no lasting damage to the transformer though customers in Allora, Berat, Clintonvale, Deuchar, Ellinthorp, Forest springs, Freestone, Gladfield, Glengallan, Goomburra, Hendon, Maryvale, Mount Marshall, Talgai, Victoria Hill, Massie, Sladevale, and East Warwic and Willowvale were all affected.
"Power was lost at about 7pm and was reinstated to about 2000 customers prior to crews repairing each of the lines at about 8," Mr Rehbein said.
"The power supply interruption was caused when a sub-transmission line from the Warwick bulk supply substation to the Allora substation fell into a high-voltage feeder line underneath it on the Cunningham Hwy.
"Power was fully restored just before 10.30pm.
"When those transformers give bang and let out sparks, it's usually the fault travelling through the current from where the problem actually is; so while the sparks can be spectacular, it's not an issue with the transformer itself."
Caltex franchisee Alex Bitancurt said the biggest impost of the ordeal was losing power at the roadhouse itself.
"(The fire) was all out on the service road so it was well away from the tanks and pumps," Mr Bitancurt said.
"We weren't concerned it would spread as it was all well contained and the fire brigade was there within minutes.
"We had five staff on at the time and because we lost both power and water we had to do the evacuation procedure and shut down.
"We were without power until about 9.30pm and weren't able to serve anyone so we lost quite a few customers during that time."