La Crosse Fire Department responds to second fire this week at Xcel Energy plant

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The La Crosse Fire Department responded to a second fire this week at the Xcel Energy plant at 200 Bainbridge Street.

The call came in at 5:53 p.m. on Thursday, August 27. Crews were at the scene within three minutes. There was heavy smoke and fire coming from the structure and spreading to a nearby building. According to Fire Chief Ken Gilliam, all employees were evacuated and accounted for.

Fire crews were on location for over six hours with multiple crews rotating through due to the hot weather.

The building and adjoining structures sustained moderate smoke and fire damage.

Xcel Energy issued the following statement Friday morning: “We’ve discovered a faulty conveyor belt that malfunctioned and started to overheat and created the smoke at the plant on both occasions this week. We had thought the first issue was something came in on the belt, but after last night’s issue, we investigated further and determined it was the equipment. It is currently shut down and we’re in the process of replacing the belt.”

According to the La Crosse Fire Department, 40 personnel and 12 pieces of apparatus responded to the call. Assistance was also received from Holmen Area Fire Department, Shelby Fire Department, Tri=State Ambulance, La Crosse MTU and Xcel Energy.