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Power plant shut down by fire being repaired

BEULAH, N.D. — A western North Dakota power plant that was shut down after a fire last week should be running at half capacity by Christmas.

No one was hurt in the Dec. 4 early morning fire at the Coyote Station coal-powered plant near Beulah. Minnesota-based Otter Tail Power Co. said a mechanical failure led to the fire, but the cause of the equipment failure is still being investigated.

Based on the visible damage, including damage to a 90-foot-high ceiling, “It had to be a really big — an astounding — event,” Plant Manager Brad Zimmerman told The Bismarck Tribune.

The plant’s 81 workers are putting in overtime to help specialized contractors get the plant back up and running. It likely will be months before the plant can run at full capacity, Zimmerman said.

In related news, North Dakota power plant off line after fire.

“We’re in uncharted territory. There’s no recipe book for figuring this out,” he said. “It’s just dig in and plow ahead.”

Otter Tail has made “alternative arrangements” to make up for the loss of power from the 427-megawatt plant, Jan Rudolf, company vice president of energy supply, said in a statement.

The 33-year-old Coyote Station generates power for Otter Tail and for Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Northern Municipal Power Agency and NorthWestern Energy.

Otter Tail provides electricity and energy services to more than a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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