January 6

Firefighters make two trips to put out small fire at Huhtamaki

Blaze in mill began in electrical cable and caused minimal damage, but reignited about an hour after it was first put out.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

A small fire at Huhtamaki Inc.’s molded-fiber mill was finally extinguished by firefighters from Fairfield and Waterville Monday afternoon after they were called to the scene twice.

click image to enlarge

MILL BLAZE: Waterville and Fairfield fire departments extinguished a small fire at the Huhtamaki Inc. molded-fiber mill Monday that started in an electrical cable.

Staff photo by David Leaming

The fire started around noon when an electrical cable chaffed and caused some plywood to ignite near a boiler room, said Capt. Rodney Alderman of the Waterville Fire Department. It was extinguished in about 45 minutes but re-started at around 2:20 p.m., he said.

Because the fire was in an area that was hard to access, firefighters had to use a scissor lift to get a hose inside the mill, said Alderman.

He said it is not uncommon for small fires to be reported at the mill because there are a lot of paper products that get caught in machinery and catch fire. Most of the fires are handled internally, but Alderman said he estimated that the Waterville Fire Department responded to about a half dozen fires in the last year.

The mill, on Fairfield’s Main Street and Waterville’s College Avenue, employs about 480 people. Among its products are Chinet brand plates. Employees were moved out of the area of the fire but were not evacuated from the building, said Alderman.

No one was hurt and the damage to the building was minimal, he said. Firefighters finally cleared the scene at around 4:30 p.m.

A representative from Huhtamaki did not return a call for comment.

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 rohm@centralmaine.com

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