A Rhode Island man was killed and a West Forks man was seriously injured Friday at Indian Pond after a garage roof collapsed under the weight of four feet of snow.
Addison T. Yeaw, 58, of North Scituate, R.I., was killed in a garage on Bun Russell Road at the Indian Pond Campground, according to Dale Lancaster, chief deputy for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.
Glen Coulson, 52, of West Forks, was pinned under the debris but escaped.
The campground, which includes a small housing development, is near Harris Station dam in Indian Stream Township and owned by Brookfield Renewable Energy Group of Canada. Brookfield owns the dam and the housing is used by company employees.
Yeaw’s wife is employed by Brookfield at the gatehouse and campground office in the summer and the couple comes and goes during the winter, living at one of the units, according to Somerset County Commissioner Lloyd Trafton, of West Forks.
Coulson, a Brookfield employee, was taken by ambulance to Harris Station Dam, where he was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. Coulson’s injuries were not life-threatening, Lancaster said.
Yeaw had come to Maine from Rhode Island the day before the accident, according to Trafton, who is a neighbor and friend of Coulson.
Julie Smith-Galvin, a spokeswoman for Brookfield, said in a prepared statement there was about four feet of snow on the roof when it collapsed.
Smith-Galvin confirmed that a Brookfield employee and someone who wasn’t employed by the company were in the garage at the time of the collapse. She didn’t identify either, but Trafton confirmed that employee was Coulson.
“We are extremely saddened by Friday’s event and our thoughts are with all those affected,” Smith-Galvin said. “As a company, we, and especially our employees in Maine who are a very close-knit group, are attempting to understand what happened and why.”
Lancaster said the collapse was reported just after 12:15 p.m. Friday. Emergency responders found Yeaw trapped under debris.
According to witnesses, Yeaw who lived across the street, had stopped to visit at 23 Bun Russell Road and was in the garage attached to the home when the roof collapsed. Neither of the men lived at that address.
Brookfield staff, West Forks Fire, Upper Kennebec Ambulance and Maine Warden Kim Bates responded to the accident.
Cpl. Eugene Cole of the sheriff’s department is heading up the investigation into Yeaw’s death, according to Lancaster. The death is not considered workplace related, Lancaster said.
Indian Pond makes up the headwaters of the Kennebec River, where whitewater rafting excursions originate. The river has its source at Moosehead Lake and empties into Indian Pond, where the dam was built in the 1950s, according to Trafton.
Bun Russell Road is a development of six houses originally built for employees of Harris Station near the dam and where white water rafters and guides now enter through a gatehouse, Trafton said.
He said the area of Bun Russell Road is closed to the public because of the accident. The road is off Indian Pond Road, about seven miles northeast of Lake Moxie. The Forks and U.S. Route 201, about 50 miles north of Skowhegan, is about five miles from Lake Moxie.
The dam and 18 others on the Kennebec, Androscoggin, Saco and Presumpscot rivers were bought in December 2012 by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners LP, a subsidiary of Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management. The company has renewable energy stations in the United States, Canada and Brazil.
The hydro projects, including eight upstream storage reservoir dams, were purchased from NextEra Energy Resources LLC for approximately $760 million. NextEra is a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc. and the dams are licensed to another subsidiary of NextEra, Florida Power and Light Energy Maine Hydro LLC.
Trafton said the homes at the dam where the accident happened were built in 1954 to house workers from Central Maine Power Co., which operated the hydro station. The development was named for the CMP superintendent at the time, Bun Russell.
CMP was forced by federal regulators to sell off its generating assets in 1999, allowing the utility to continue to distribute power over its transmission lines.