AES black smoke July 25, 2019

Black smoke can be seen coming from the AES Redondo Beach power plant about 3 p.m. Thursday, July 25. (Courtesy Bob Schwartz)

A main boiler fan failed Thursday afternoon, July 25, at the AES power plant in Redondo Beach, an official there said, sending black smoke billowing into the air — alarming some residents.

But the smoke quickly cleared and the situation was under control, that official said. No one was injured.

The failure occurred during normal operations.

“One of the main boiler fans that blows air failed, causing combustion in the boiler to be starved of oxygen,” said Dalia Gomez, spokeswoman for the plant. “And that’s what caused the black smoke.”

Officials at the power plant received the first call about smoke at 3:11 p.m., Gomez said. The smoke stack emitted back smoke for about six-to-nine minutes.

Plant officials quickly notified the Redondo Beach Fire Department and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Gomez said.

A representative for the air-quality watchdog said the agency had dispatched an inspector.

Despite being short-lived, the smoke was above and beyond what neighbors are used to seeing from the plant, so it seemed to shock many residents, some of whom posted what they were witnessing to social media sites.

“Close all windows,” wrote one resident on Facebook. “This does not look good.”

But there was never any danger to AES employees or the community, Gomez said.

“The situation was immediately stabilized,” she said.

It is typical for the power plant to have more units online during the summer, because of the heat, Gomez said, but she did not know how many units were operating when the boiler fan failed.

She also said plant officials do not yet know why the system failed. But an investigation is underway and, Gomez added, officials will provide more details on Friday.

Staff writers Nick Green and Lisa Jacobs contributed to this story.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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