A fire that started in a wood pellet dryer late Sunday in Athens extended into the building, damaging the walls, roof and many wire trays.

Fourteen fire departments and more than 50 firefighters responded to the blaze at Maine Woods Pellet Co. at 164 Harmony Road, working in frigid temperatures, according to Athens Fire Chief Brett Strout.

“We had zero visibility inside the building and the fire was deep inside the walls and deep inside the roof, so it was a lot of digging,” Strout said Monday.

The Maine Woods Pellet Co. mill in Athens, pictured here in July 2016, suffered damage from fire Sunday. A commercial garage at Linkletter & Sons, owners of the pellet mill, was destroyed in a separate fire Saturday. Morning Sentinel file photo

The company is owned by Linkletter & Sons Inc. which is located about a half-mile from Maine Woods Pellet on Harmony Road and was the scene of a fire Saturday that destroyed a commercial garage.

The steel-frame building at Maine Woods Pellet is about 200-by-600 feet in size and is 2 1/2 to 3 stories high, according to Strout.

Firefighters from Athens, Harmony, Cornville, Madison, Skowhegan, Anson, Cambridge, Solon, St. Albans, Norridgewock, Bingham and Canaan fought the fire, Strout said. A Rapid Intervention Team from Waterville Fire Department also responded and the Dexter Fire Department came with a ladder truck, he said.

Maine School Administrative District 54 sent two school buses for firefighters to get warm, according to Strout.

The reason so many fire departments responded is that firefighters are in short supply everywhere, he said.

“Luckily we have a great relationship with all the mutual departments so when we call, they show up,” he said.

Firefighters worked into the night, leaving the scene at 4 a.m. Monday, he said. No injuries were reported, according to Strout.

The fire that occurred Saturday at Linkletter & Sons destroyed a 60-by-100-foot, wood-frame building with metal siding that is the company’s main garage used for working on trucks and equipment, he said. A crane used to put logs on trucks, as well as tools, oil, parts and tires that were inside also were destroyed, according to Strout.

Firefighters at Saturday’s fire were able to save two adjacent buildings, trucks and other equipment from being affected. Twelve departments responded to that fire, according to Strout.

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