Lightning Strike The Suspected Cause Of Fire At Madison Sewerage Plant

Incident Type
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 7:00am
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 7:07am
Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 7:16am
1600 Block Moorland Rd
Madison, WI

A lightning strike is believed to be the cause of a fire that significantly damaged some equipment at the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District headquarters.
The Madison Fire Department was called just before 7:00 a.m., after employees saw lightning and began to smell something burning.

When Ladder Company 6 and other Fire Department crews arrived on scene at 7:07 a.m., flames were showing from the protective cover that houses a rooftop pressure release valve and flame arrester. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire from a safe distance, then examined the property for fire spread and other remaining hazards.

The pressure relief valve where the fire occurred sits atop an Anaerobic Digester that contains 670,000 gallons of solid waste. This waste produces approximately 60,000 cubic feet of methane gas per day. Firefighters and Wastewater Treatment staff were very concerned that an explosion and widespread damage could occur if the fire spread beyond its point of origin. Thanks to firefighters’ prompt response and swift actions, the fire was contained and knocked down before such a thing could happen.

The Wastewater Treatment operations building and a nearby home were evacuated during firefighting operations. The area was deemed safe, and all crews were cleared from the scene, around 8:00 a.m.

Posted 10/12/2016 - 10:24am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer), 608-261-5539,