Substation fire caused by copper wire thieves

by Alen McMahon
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The massive blaze at an ESB substation that left thousands of homes without power last weekend was caused by thieves trying to steal copper wire, according to the electricity company.
In a statement released by Crimestoppers recently, the ESB said that the damage was caused by “third-party interference” with the overall cost of the incident to the utility estimated at up to €10m.
“Following an initial investigation by ESB Networks it has become apparent that this incident was caused by third party interference, where thieves were attempting to steal copper wire from the site,” said a spokesperson.
The ESB also reminded the public and perpetrators of the criminal activity of the dangers of interfering with our electricity infrastructure: “Such interference is a highly dangerous activity with the perpetrators putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.”
The spokesperson added that over 150 kilometres of copper valued at €3m has been stolen from the ESB since 2012, costing around €28m to replace. It called on members of the public to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to gardai.
More than 120,000 customers across South County Dublin and its surrounding areas were left without power last week after a fire broke out at approximately the evening of April 17.
There were no reports of any injuries as the sub-station itself was unmanned.
An ESB spokesperson later stated that a transformer fault occurred at the 220kv substation due to the fire. Gardai evacuated the area within a 500 metre radius of the blaze with a housing estate located close the scene, across the Grand Canal.
Nearby residents were advised to remain indoors and keep windows and doors shut to block out emissions from the fire.
A Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) spokesperson commented: “At 7.20pm we began to receive numerous calls regarding a large explosion at the sub-station. The facility is a 220kb substation which was well ablaze by the time we reached it. The ESB had isolated all electricity before we commenced our operation.”

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