WATERVILLE — A fire that was believed to be out in the early evening Thursday only to reignite and spread to electrical wires at the Huhtamaki paper mill a few hours later forced the mill’s evacuation and a temporary shutdown of equipment in the affected area.

The fire was originally reported on a machine that makes paper plates at around 5:50 p.m. It later reignited, apparently because mill workers accidentally pushed the embers onto a tray containing electrical wires, said Waterville Fire Chief David LaFountain.

The second fire, reported at around 10:30 p.m., brought fire crews from Fairfield and Waterville to the scene for close to six hours.

Damage to the mill was minimal and only employees in a “small area” were evacuated, said Wess Hudelson, communications manager for Huhtamaki North America.

Repairs were being made to the machine Friday morning.

“It was a very small area only concerning one machine,” said Hudelson. “The reason the fire department was there for so long was to ensure that electrical power had been cut off and that we could safely start repairs.”

There were no injuries reported.

Workers at the mill who reported the fire were “surprised by a significant amount of fire” and the size of the fire, according to LaFountain.

“If they don’t get it while it’s small, we usually have a job. I’m not sure what affect there was on the machine, but they will have to be careful when they re-energize. You don’t just shut down any paper making process without having to go through a long start-up procedure,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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