Good News: Giant Plume of Smoke From APS Transformer Fire Won't Kill You

There's good news and bad news about the transformer that caught fire in Phoenix last night.

The good news: the enormous plume of smoke that is currently drifting West over downtown Phoenix is non-toxic.

The bad news: the smoke could be here for a while -- Phoenix fire crews are going to let the fire burn itself out, which could take several days.

The transformer -- at an APS substation near 67th Street and Pinnacle Peak Road -- caught fire about 10 p.m. yesterday.

Fire crews used more than 7,000 gallons of water to try an extinguish the blaze, but they failed, and the fire continues to burn as of this writing.

Phoenix Fire Captain Scott McDonald tells New Times the plan, for now, is to let the fire burn itself out. Reports in the Arizona Republic that there's a concern water used to fight the blaze could damage nearby houses is incorrect, he says -- the nearest home is more than a mile from the transformer.


"This water would have to run about a mile and a half down Pinnacle Peak Road, and then take a left before it reaches any houses," McDonald jokes.

The Department of Environmental Quality has determined that the smoke is non-toxic and poses no health hazard to the public.

Check back for updates.

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James King
Contact: James King