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Fire destroys wind turbine in western Algarve

WINDTURBINEFIREA short circuit is thought to be the cause of yesterday’s spectacular fire which destroyed a wind turbine at the Raposeira Wind Farm, near Budens, Vila do Bispo.

The 100 metre high turbine was inaccessible to firemen who could do little more than ensure that surrounding area did not also catch fire.

The Vila do Bispo volunteer firemen were on the scene after dozens of calls from concerned locals came in to the station.

"We first were alerted at 14.00 on Saturday. Due to the characteristics of the tower, we could not get up there to extinguish the fire. We limited our response to preventing the fire from spreading and created a security perimeter," said the local fire station commander Joel Ramos.

Pedro Sousa, head of the Raposeira Wind Farm, phoned in an alert. He commented, "The system was working and suddenly there was smoke, there is nothing that can be done but to leave it to burn out."

Due to the intense heat, two of the huge windmill blades fell off and the stiff wind threw sparks over a long trajectory.

The damage to the top of the tower is almost total but there were no casualties, "One of the first things I did was to see if anyone was still inside the tower because there could have been a team working there, but there was not," said Sousa.

When the burned out turbine has cooled down, engineers will evaluate the damage to the turbine in order to determine the cause of the fire.

Curious onlookers are being kept well away from the scene as the third turbine blade also is in danger of falling off.

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