The TransCanada Ravenswood Power Plant, also known as Big Allis, lost a boiler combustion fan due to heat on Monday afternoon, spewing a dark cloud of smoke over Astoria, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said.
"I was just driving home from City Hall and I saw this disgusting plume of black smoke," Vallone said of the power plant on 36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard.
Several residents posted to his Facebook page worried about a fire. He called the company, which blamed the boiler fan failure for the smoke.
The plant lost 500 megawatts because of the incident.
"They don't believe there is a risk of a brownout," Vallone said.
TransCanada spokesperson Grady Semmens sent the Chronicle the following statement on the incident:
"At approximately 4:30 pm ET, TransCanada's Ravenswood Power facility lost one of the eight boiler combustion fans in an operating unit. As a result of the loss of this combustion fan, black smoke was present in the stack and people would have seen this for a short period of time. Corrective action was taken immediately and the situation is under control.
"There was no fire in the power plant, and there is no risk to human health. Our personnel are investigating what took place and until we can determine what caused the fan to stop and safely make repairs, this individual unit will be operating under a limited load. However, the Ravenswood facility has the ability to deliver additional power from our reserve units on site, which will allow us to meet our commitments to our customers in the New York City area."
Semmens later added that the fan went down due to a power trip, that it wasn't damaged and that it was soon working normally again.
This story was updated to include TransCanada's statement on the incident.
This article was corrected to include the proper spelling of "Big Allis."