During the century of its existence, the Ellamaa power station has had to survive several dramatic events. The first major fire occurred in 1926, only three years after the station started operations, when a wooden peat gasification unit burned down. It was never restored, and in 1929 a large boiler house was built to replace the gasification unit.
In 1935, the peat moss factory, which had started operations adjacent to the power plant a few years earlier, burned down. The premises related to electricity production, i.e. the engine room and boiler room along with the equipment therein, were not damaged during the fire. However, the damaged concrete chimney had to be demolished. New premises were built for the peat moss factory in the same year.
The power station suffered the greatest damage during World War II. On 10 July 1941, the retreating Soviet troops blew up the power station’s distribution block, engine room and boiler house. According to legend, the local power station workers were able to defuse some of the explosive charges and less damage was caused than feared. However, the power plant went off-line and stopped working. It was started up again during the German occupation, but initially at a significantly lower capacity.
As a result of the 1941 explosion, the distribution block was almost completely destroyed. It was not rebuilt until the late 1950s or early 1960s as a somewhat larger installation than the original. The engine room and boiler house were heavily damaged as a result of the wartime explosion, when many devices, the roof, doors and windows were broken. The limited surviving equipment was damaged by the extinguishing water. As a result of the explosion, the new peat moss factory built in 1935 also caught fire and was never restored.
View of the engine room of the power station after the building was blown up, 1941. Eesti Energia History Collection
The retreating Soviet army blew up the Ellamaa power station on 10 July 1941. The distribution block (on the left) suffered the greatest damage and was completely destroyed. The engine room and boiler house were heavily damaged, and the new peat moss factory and peat storage were destroyed in the fire. MOMU Motorsports Museum
A large peat storage (in the foreground, in ruins) where heating peat was stored and through which peat was transported to the power station was also destroyed in the fire that started as a result of the explosion in 1941. Eesti Energia History Collection