Copper Thieves Set Fire at Old NYSEG Plant Near Johnson City
Johnson City firefighters extinguished another blaze at a former NYSEG power plant where a major environmental cleanup project is underway.
The latest fire at the old Goudey Station on Riverside Drive in Westover was reported around 8:15 a.m. Friday.
The decommissioned facility was known as AES Westover after it was sold by NYSEG.
No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, which was confined to a concrete building located near the main generating plant. Firefighters were on the scene for about 30 minutes.
Johnson City fire marshal Bob Blakeslee told WNBF News said the situation Friday morning was "the same as always." He said intruders who were trying to remove copper from the site set up a burn pit to remove insulation from the scrap metal.
Johnson City firefighters have extinguished several blazes at the former NYSEG site in the town of Union over the last couple of years.
Blakeslee said they've become "fairly common." He said the last incident he was aware of happened about a month ago.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have been investigating suspected illegal activity at the Goudey plant.
The agency's haven't revealed much about their investigations but they apparently are looking into similar issues at other former general plants elsewhere.
Workers in hazmat suits conducted tests at the Westover site in April. Among other things, they discovered areas of petroleum contamination. The DEC said cleanup operations began in early May.
The petroleum cleanup work was expected to take up to four months to complete.