News & Events

UMPI open and operational following mechanical fire at wind turbine

No injuries reported in overnight fire that temporarily
disrupted 
electricity service to campus

Power restored to campus, turbine site at edge of campus secured as
UMPI President 
expresses deep gratitude to community first responders

PRESQUE ISLE—Presque Isle emergency crews responded to a fire that occurred at the University of Maine at Presque Isle wind turbine around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, 2018.  There were no injuries reported and the turbine site, which is located more than 1,800 feet from residence halls and other university buildings, has been secured to ensure campus safety.

The incident triggered the unit’s safety measures and disrupted electricity service to much of the campus.  The UMPI facilities team worked with crews from Emera Maine to conduct an assessment of the campus electrical systems and were able to restore power to campus at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Monday, April 2.  The university is open and classes are being conducted as scheduled.

UMPI student affairs officials were on campus and available throughout the night to monitor the incident and provide any needed support to students living in residence halls.

Technicians from Vestas, the company that oversees maintenance of the turbine, are on site today to investigate the incident and conduct a damage assessment. The University of Maine System Office of Risk Management will also be coordinating with campus officials and the university insurance provider to determine claim eligibility.

The turbine will remain offline and the site secured until all assessments are complete and university officials have an opportunity to review the findings and consider how best to meet the future power needs of the campus.  UMPI has always remained connected to the local power grid and will continue to have access to the power needed to maintain campus operations.

“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work done by the Presque Isle Fire Department, Presque Isle Police Department, Emera Maine, and our own Facilities crew members for ensuring this situation was brought to a close quickly and safely,” said University of Maine at Presque Isle President Raymond Rice.  “Having secured the site and restored power to campus, classes and campus events will continue as scheduled as we work with our contractors to determine the cause of the incident and assess the damage.”

The University of Maine at Presque Isle wind turbine has generated more than 4.7 million kiloWatt hours of emission-free power since it became operational in 2009.   The turbine receives regular semi-annual inspection and maintenance in keeping with industry standards.  The next planned inspection and service was scheduled for April 2018.