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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Seabrook, NH) - Smoke at the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in New Hampshire just before noon Monday sparked fears as the plant went into emergency response mode.
Seabrook Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Everett Strangman said, "The call came from the control room of the power plant and they said there was a small fire."
"Then it was a standby situation to find out if this event escalated," said Joseph Titone, the director of emergency management for the town of Seabrook.
Plant officials say the source of the emergency alert was a smoking electrical motor attached to an elevator inside a plant support building on the property.
They say the power plant's own fire brigade was called to the scene and "de-energized" the area.
But because the fire wasn't under control for more than half an hour, it was declared an "unusual event" - the lowest level emergency at Seabrook Station.
Matthew Colbert of Salisbury, NH said, "It's kind of scary actually because it's across the marsh."
Some people who live just down the road from the Seabrook plant say emergencies like this one make them concerned, especially in light of the nuclear problems in Japan.
Colbert said, "Maybe it's time to look into some alternative methods for energy instead of nuclear power."
Officials say they're aware the nuclear crisis in Japan has put the plant under a microscope, creating greater concern even in a low level emergency like this one.
But just this month, plant officials assured the public that the Seabrook plant is in a better location and better constructed than the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
On March 16th Seabrook Station spokesperson Alan Griffith said, "We're confident that we would be able to withstand the kind of event that happened in Japan."
Some people who drive by the plant every day say they believe the plant is much safer and more secure than the troubled plant in Japan.
Mike Linnehan of Hampton Falls, NH said, "I'm sure they have their issues from day to day, but we're not really too concerned with this power plant over here compared to what's going on in Japan."
Plant officials say there were no injuries, no evacuations and no threat to public safety.
They say power to the plant never went down during the situation.
New Hampshire Emergency Management officials say an "unusual event" is rare at the Seabrook plant.
They say there have only be two or three like this since 1991.