Blade Tumbles Off Wind Turbine in Gloucester

City and fire officials called the incident a 'mechanical failure' at a wind turbine in the Blackburn Industrial Park

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A massive blade fell off of a 400-foot wind turbine in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on Sunday, causing the area surrounding the structure to be shutdown indefinitely.

The Gloucester Fire Department and Gloucester Mayor Greg Verga confirmed Sunday that a roughly 160-foot blade had fallen from the turbine at Applied Materials on Dory Road in the Blackburn Industrial Park shutting down access to nearby Great Republic Drive.

No injuries were reported, and officials said that aside from the structure itself losing a blade, no nearby property was damaged.

Applied Materials -- which owns and operates the turbine -- informed the city Sunday that the cause of the failure remains unknown, but that there are no imminent structural concerns after multiple inspections of the turbine tower and remaining two blades.

Great Republic Drive was reopened to traffic once the company deemed it safe. An exclusion zone remains in place around the tower, though it is entirely on Applied Materials property.

According to city and fire officials, Applied Materials reported that it appears from preliminary inspections that built-in safety mechanisms caused the turbine to shut down when an issue was detected, and that the safety mechanisms functioned as designed to stop the turbine.

The remaining blades of the turbine have been locked into place, and the blades are under far less stress than they are when they're operational, the company added.

The City of Gloucester has a power purchase agreement with a separate, private company that operates two other wind turbines in the Blackburn Industrial Park.

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