News Release

3:30 p.m. UPDATE: Fire extinguished at Chilliwack area substation

Vancouver, BC  (3:30 p.m.) – BC Hydro confirms that a transformer fire at its Atchelitz substation earlier today has been fully extinguished and power has been restored to all of its approximately 50,000 customers in the area.

Approximately 28,000 Chilliwack and Sumas customers had their electricity restored within two hours after the fire and remaining customers were restored within the past 30 minutes.

All measures to ensure safety and environmental due diligence have been followed. The 12 onsite employees were quickly accounted for and confirmed as safe. As a precautionary measure, four of these employees went to hospital for assessment and have returned to work. The cause of the fire remains unconfirmed and will be investigated. BC Hydro spill response and environmental assessment teams are active onsite and Worksafe BC and local Ministry of Environment have also attended the site. 

Work is underway to assess the damage sustained to the transformer and substation as a result of this incident. The damaged transformer holds approximately 115,000 litres of insulating oil and an intensive cleanup operation is now underway.

A thorough incident investigation will be conducted in the coming days and a restoration plan is being developed to replace the damaged transformer and address any other effects of the fire at the substation. 

Additional Incident Background:

Shortly after 9:00 a.m. this morning a transformer fire occurred and in order to control the fire safely, BC Hydro de-energized the substation which resulted in the disruption of power to customers in the Chilliwack, Atchelitz and Sumas areas. Chilliwack Fire crews were quickly onsite to manage the fire. Employees that were in the substation were quickly accounted for and confirmed safe.

The Atchelitz substation has six transformers and serves approximately 50,000 customers and is located on farm land just east of Chilliwack near the intersection of Lickman Road and South Sumas Road.

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For more information please contact:

BC Hydro Media Relations
Direct: 604-928-6468