Fire Station Relies on MTU to Keep Critical Power On
The crew at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Station 51 in downtown Tigard, Oregon, is one of the busiest in the fire district. Not only do they respond to vehicle accidents, medical calls and fires, but its specialty units handle calls throughout the district’s 210 square miles of suburban communities outside Portland, Oregon.
“I can’t have that station without power,” said Peter Meeuwsen, facilities technician for TVF&R.
The station recently underwent an extensive renovation, which included upgrading the backup generator. The installation and the load bank test went well. But the transference of power revealed a significant problem.
Luckily, Meeuwsen said, Louie Vanderwel, our technician who regularly works with the fire district, was on hand for the testing and had a good idea about what was causing the problem.
Station 51 is one of 26 within TVF&R’s footprint. It’s located in a bustling community and near two major freeways. A significant renovation upgraded the 1993-era building, improving its seismic strength, installing an interior sprinkler system and upgrading the area for the co-ed crew of firefighters.
The 35kw backup generator was barely getting the job done before the work. Meeuwsen said it was time for an upgrade.
Meeuwsen consulted with Venderwel and agreed with his recommendation to install an MTU 100kw generator. The increased power capability would be able to keep the entire building operational.
The larger sized generator required a bigger propane tank and installation area that we worked with the district to design.
Load Bank Test
Once the installation was completed, it was time to test the new system. The generator was fired up and load tested for two hours. Meeuwsen said the test went well with the generator performing as expected.
But when they tested the power transfer, the generator wouldn’t start. That’s when Venderwel stepped in.
Vanderwel noticed a problem with the wiring, but more importantly, he also recommended installing a different switch.
“We agreed with Pac Power to bring in a new switch,” Meeuwsen said.
The ASCO switch Vanderwel suggested was installed and a second test was initiated.
“It’s transferring back and forth correctly,” Meeuwsen said.
The success at Station 51 allowed us to strengthen our relationship with TVF&R. We continue to do service work to keep the agency’s critical need fire stations operational in case of power failures.
Meeuwsen said a similar generator upgrade is being talked about at Station 60. We’re ready to provide whatever support is necessary.
“We really like the MTU units and everything we did at Station 51,” Meeuwsen said.