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Houlton firefighters snuff out Wednesday fire at Louisiana Pacific plant

NEW LIMERICK, Maine — Houlton firefighters responded to the Louisiana Pacific mill on 240 Station Road Wednesday morning, Aug. 22, after a small fire broke out in one of the plant’s pieces of equipment. 

Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone said 16 firefighters and three pieces of apparatus were on the scene for nearly three hours.

Cone said responding to fire calls at the wood mill is not uncommon, due to the nature of how products are manufactured. This particular call, however, was more complicated because the fire spread to the roof of the building holding the equipment.

“This fire actually started in a different piece of equipment,” he said. “The (wood) wafers typically go into a drying drum and from there into an enclosed cone before going into the dry bins. Usually any problems are in the dry bins, because the wafers are dry and hot and can ignite.”

Wednesday’s fire is believed to have started in the enclosed cone section of the manufacturing plant, the fire chief said.

“We believe the intact air unit became plugged, causing the material to overheat,” he said. “The heat buildup, however, caused a fire to break out between the layers of the roof.”

Firefighters used a “piercing nozzle” to penetrate the roof and also had to pull sections of the roof to extinguish the flames.

“I am not sure how bad the damage was to the equipment in the production line,” Cone said. “I don’t think it was something major that would cause a halt in production for any long period of time, but I don’t know that for certain.”

Attempts to reach Louisiana Pacific officials for comments were not successful.

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