An investigation is ongoing into a “makeshift” incendiary device set off at an Arizona plant. The FBI, ATF, and the Arizona Department of Public Services have all been called in to help discover who is responsible for planting of a crude bomb that was ignited at an electric substation last week.
On the morning of Wednesday, June 11, police were alerted to the discovery of a fence breach and the remains of a small incendiary device at UniSource Energy Services’ Valencia Plant in Nogales, Ariz. Valencia consists of four natural gas and diesel-fueled turbine units and provides approximately 63 megawatt of peaking resources. The facility is directly interconnected with the distribution system serving the city of Nogales and the surrounding areas. The four turbines were not in operation at the time of the event.
According to multiple media reports, the small bomb was placed at one of the 50,000-gallon diesel storage tanks at the site and ignited, causing a minor rupture and fuel leak. The escaped fuel failed to ignite and the spill was contained to the property, according to Nogales police. Had the bomb been successful in exploding the tank and igniting the fuel, the results could have been catastrophic, potentially knocking out power to more than 30,000 Arizona customers and disabling the station indefinitely.
The plant and surrounding businesses were temporarily evacuated as a precaution, but there were no injuries or power outages related to the incident.
Police believe the vandals breached the substation sometime between 4 p.m. Tuesday, following the departure of maintenance workers, and 8 a.m. Wednesday, when workers returned to monitor the plant, reports Arizona Central.
No suspects have been identified at this time.
A subsidiary of UNS Energy Corporation, UniSource Energy Services supplies energy to more than 237,000 customers across Arizona.