WATERVILLE — No one was injured in a Monday night blaze at Huhtamaki after a spark ignited dust on top of a dryer.

Michael Wadsworth, the rough finish department manager at Huhtamaki, said a fan motor seized up and a resulting spark set fire to debris atop a steam-powered dryer that produces cup carriers for Starbucks Coffee Co.

A dryer, said Wadsworth, measures 150 long, by 8 feet wide and 12 feet high.

Employees at the plant are trained to handle fires in early stages, said Wadsworth, and that’s what they did Monday night. “They kept it under control,” he said. “I’m proud of our employees and how they handled it.”

Damage was minimal and production resumed in about two hours, he said.

The call came in at 4:50 p.m. from Huhtamaki, located in Waterville and Fairfield along College Avenue. Waterville Fire Chief Dave LaFountain said about 35 firefighters from the Waterville and Fairfield fire departments responded to what he termed a stubborn fire that jumped from one dryer to another at the plant, then leapt above the sprinkler system.

LaFountain said firefighters checked the roof to ensure the fire had not made its way there through vents. He said some rubber roofing had melted.

Fairfield Capt. Jack Adams said things went smoothly during the rush hour call.

Wadsworth said historically there have been a lot of fires at the plant, but that in the recent past “a lot of work has been done to prevent them.” Firefighters left the mill at 6:33 p.m.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]


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