Consumers releases statement on reason behind January fire

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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) -- Consumer's Energy in Jackson has issued a statement regarding the results of the Ray compressor fire in January.

“Today, Consumers Energy submitted its report to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) on the Ray Compressor Station fire on Jan. 30, 2019. The incident at our largest storage supply site occurred during historically high natural gas demand due to extreme cold temperatures and prompted the company to ask customers to dial back their thermostats and conserve natural gas use in their homes and businesses."

After the 2-month long investigation, and a confirmation by a third party consultant, they discovered the fire was caused by a combination of factors:
• A plume of natural gas released by the safety fire-gate system was the fuel source;
• Air outside of the plant mixed with the natural gas due to the high winds; and
• Extremely hot equipment caused the natural gas-air mixture to ignite.

The review did not find any evidence of failure on equipment maintenance.

"The fire at the Ray Station was precipitated by a safety venting fire-gate process that is proven safe and effective. However, under unique and extreme weather conditions, the process became hazardous. We plan to address the issue at the Ray Compressor Station and implement new procedures across our natural gas fleet to further enhance resiliency and help avoid failure in these extraordinary circumstances. We appreciate and thank our customers across Michigan for all they did to help Consumers Energy and their neighbors during the unprecedented January event.”