OROVILLE, CA - Firefighters have contained a fire at an Oroville plant that supplies electricity to pump water as part of a major water delivery system in the state.
California Department of Water Resources(CDWR) spokesman Ted Thomas says firefighters were pushed out of the Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping-Generating plant near Oroville by collapsing equipment and poor visibility after responding to the fire Thursday morning.
As of 10:30 a.m., the plant has been turned back over to the control of the CFWR.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said crews gained entry Friday and have put out the flames. Firefighters found heavy fire, smoke and heat damage to the two floors right below ground level and smoke damage to the single story above ground.
The building has five levels: four below ground and one above. It houses four turbines and other heavy equipment.
Cal Fire will start the fire investigation as soon as it's safe to do so.
Thomas said water deliveries will not be affected since water from nearby Lake Oroville - a major state reservoir - can be diverted around the damaged plant.
The state, however, will have to purchase additional power to pump water. The plant is part of the State Water Project, which supplies water to farmland and more than 25 million residents.