Belfast Telegraph

Investigation after blast at Northern Ireland power plant

By David Young

An investigation has been launched after an explosion at a Northern Ireland power station.

Five fire appliances raced to Londonderry Port on Sunday night after the blast in a boiler room at the plant.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said four fire engines plus a specialised aerial appliance were sent to Lisahally biomass power plant just after 7.30pm.

It is capable of generating enough power for 30,000 homes, however, there have been no reports of power cuts.

Assistant Group Commander Mark Watson said there had been an explosion on the seventh floor of the building caused by the rupturing of a steam pipe.

He added that there had been some damage caused to the aluminium cladding of the building, and that a full damage assessment would be carried out this morning.

Equipment failure is suspected as the cause of the incident, but this too will be subject to further investigation by experts.

Thirty-fire firefighters were engaged in dealing with the incident.

All had left the scene by 10.30pm.

Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan tweeted: "Good news that nobody was injured as result of incident at biomass plant at Lisahally. Great work by NIFRS."

The Lisahally biomass power plant is owned by Evermore Energy, run by brothers Ciaran and Stephen Devine.

Opened in 2016, the £83m, 15.8MW biomass power plant is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

It sells energy directly into the grid, and provides power for around 30,000 homes and businesses.

Evermore is also planning a more ambitious project - a £280m gas power plant based at Belfast Harbour.

In a statement, the power station said no one was injured in the incident and thanked the fire service for its quick response and professionalism.

"A review of the incident will be carried out by our engineers in consultation with statutory agencies. Our onsite team is working to bring the plant back online as soon as possible."

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