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Barge takes Pittsburgh firefighters to island power plant fire

Pittsburgh first responders were carried by barge to Brunot Island after the plant’s reactor “catastrophically failed”


Pittsburgh Public Safety/Twitter

By Zach Mentz

PITTSBURGH — A large fire erupted Monday on Brunot Island along the Ohio River in Pittsburgh after a reactor “catastrophically failed” at a power station, officials said.

The fire began just after 8 p.m. at the Duquesne Light Company substation on Brunot Island, a 129-acre island about five miles from Pittsburgh. The fire, which sent plumes of smoke over the Ohio River, was extinguished overnight by Pittsburgh firefighters, according to Pittsburgh Public Safety.

There are no reported injuries, and the exact cause of the fire and failed reactors remains under investigation, officials said.

“Duquesne Light and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire will continue to investigate the cause and monitor any further impact,” officials said in a news release.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire, along with EMS and police, worked with Duquesne Light crews to move personnel and equipment to the island via barge to extinguish the fire. The Norfolk Southern Rail line that crosses the Ohio River over Brunot Island was temporarily shut down during emergency operations, but has since reopened, according to the release.

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Kokkila said the fire at Duquesne Light’s power station was not a threat to the public.

“It’s not a reactor like a nuclear reactor or anything, nothing in that way, shape or form,” Kokkila said.

Duquesne Light issued a statement Tuesday morning saying “The incident has not resulted in any injuries, threats to the public or disruption to electric service.

“We thank everyone involved for their hard and diligent work in getting this matter resolved safely,” the statement read.

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