ATHENS — The manager at Maine Wood Pellet Co. in Athens said he expects the mill to be back in operation late Monday or early Tuesday after an early morning fire brought emergency crews from five towns.

Robert Linkletter, owner and manager at the manufacturing plant on Harmony Road, which is Route 150, said the fire was the result of “bearing failure” at the mill, and the blaze was quickly brought under control and little damage was done. The fire was reported about 2:20 a.m. Monday.

“We had a fire in a pipe — we got it out — we had a bearing go on the end of a conveyor that just got hot,” Linkletter said by phone Monday morning. “There was a couple of bent pieces of steel, nothing serious. They’re cleaning it up right now. Hopefully we’ll be going by either the end of the day or first thing tomorrow morning.”

No one was injured at the mill, which operates 24 hours a day.

Athens Fire Chief Jeremy Farmer said the fire started in dust inside a hopper in one of the large pipes that feeds from the roof onto the second floor of the mill. There was a small combustion explosion that knocked a door open and damaged a wall of an elevator chute, he said.

Fire crews from Athens, Madison, Skowhegan, Cornville and Harmony responded to the fire along with rescue units from Skowhegan and Madison. Crews were at the scene for about three hours.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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