UPDATE — 6:30 p.m.: Power has been restored to all residences that experienced outages.

Fire crews were able to quickly extinguish a fire at a Sawnee EMC substation on Friday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Gwinnett County Fire Services

“We had a regulator inside the substation that failed and those regulators have some oil in them and the oil caught on fire,” said Blake House, vice president of member services for Sawnee EMC.

House added that power was successfully restored in a little more than an hour and no one was injured during the incident.


The above video was captured by a local resident Joy O’Halloran of the fire that broke out on Friday afternoon at a Sawnee EMC power substation in Sugar Hill.  

SUGAR HILL — On Friday afternoon, a fire broke out at a power substation in Sugar Hill behind the Publix shopping center on Suwanee Dam Road in Sugar Hill leaving 2,567 customers without power.

Aerial view of the Sawnee EMC power substation fire. Photo by Paul Chippendale.

Sawnee EMC’s website is saying that the first outage report came in at 3:41 p.m.  Customers impacted by the power substation fire should have their power restored by 5:45 p.m.

This fire has impacted Sawnee’s Gwinnett operations where at the height of the outages, 89 percent of their customer base in the county was without power.

According to Capt. Tommy Rutledge with Gwinnett County Fire Services, they received were dispatched to the fire at the substation off of Riverside Road in Sugar Hill at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.

Upon arrival, fire crews “found what appeared to be four or five large power regulator boxes that were burning in a gravel area.”

The fire is under control but the fire crews at the scene are having to wait on Sawnee EMC to completely shut down the substation’s power before they can fully extinguish the fire.

“There are no exposure hazards and no injuries have been reported. There are no roadways being affected due to fire equipment,” Capt. Rutledge said.


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