Coal unit catches fire at NRG's W.A. Parish Generating Station in Fort Bend County

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Coal fire at NRG owned plant in Fort Bend
The affected unit on a busy day provides electricity to 12,000 homes. ERCOT said it continues to forecast sufficient supply of power to meet demand.

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- It was a tough fight as firefighters from both Harris and Fort Bend Counties responded to a fire at NRG plant in Thompsons overnight.

The roof of one of the coal units caught on fire at NRG's W.A. Parish Generating Station at 2500 Yu Jones Road near Smithers Lake at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday.

Officials said it was a fight to keep the flames from spreading.

Thankfully there were no injuries, and the fire is pretty much out, according to a spokesperson from NRG. They said everything is secured and there is no danger to the community or the environment.

The plant is still operational, but some firefighters will remain at the site Monday to make sure there are no hot spots.

The damage is easy to spot at the W.A. Parish Generating Station. Flames shot into the air when the plant caught fire overnight. You can see SkyEye video of the damage in the video player above.

"Our operators called the fire department. We had a tremendous response from the firefighters," David Knox, an NRG spokesman said.

In total, more than 100 firefighters from 20 departments and two different counties responded around midnight.

"Each one of them worked together to control it to make sure it did not spread," Fort Bend County Fire Marshall Mark Flathouse said.

The unit that caught fire -- which houses mostly machinery -- immediately shut down, which officials say it is designed to do.

In addition to no injuries to employees, NRG said there are no environmental concerns.

The plant supplies about 15% of the energy in Houston and the surrounding areas.

The damaged unit remains off, which is a hit to the electrical supply.

"That one unit on a hot day, when all the air conditioners are running, it takes care of the needs of about 12,000 homes," Knox said.

ABC13 reached out to ERCOT for more details on exactly how this may impact customers, and it sent the following statement:

"ERCOT continues to forecast sufficient supply of power to meet demand as unseasonably high temperatures remain in place across much of Texas. ERCOT will continue to deploy all available tools to manage the grid reliably and coordinate closely with the Public Utility Commission, generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are also prepared."

As far as timing on when crews can assess the damage, they'll need to deem the area safe before they can go in and investigate.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

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