WINSLOW — A fire broke out Wednesday morning inside a warehouse where recycled paper was stored at the Kennebec River Development Park in Winslow.

The blaze at 100 Benton Ave., which burned for about four hours before being contained at about 2:30 p.m., damaged paper that Huhtamaki was to use to make plates, according to Deputy Chief Michael Murphy of the Winslow Fire Department.

No one was injured, Murphy said.

“It’s been a difficult fire to fight,” Murphy said shortly after 2:30 p.m. “There was a lot of smoke because of all the paper. There was little to zero visibility inside. We’ve got it under control now, but it’s still going inside.”

White smoke was rising from the building when firefighters arrived. The limited visibility prompted crews to gain access to the building from its roof and ventilate smoke by peeling off sections of the warehouse’s walls. The structure itself was not in danger, Murphy said.

The fire was first reported at 10:05 a.m., prompting an immediate response from at least five fire departments, according to Winslow Public Safety Director Leonard Macdaid.


“We had strong mutual aid,” Macdaid said. “Like lightning, these other departments got here.”

Crews using a ladder truck were still dousing the building with water at 3 p.m. as remnants of the fire continued to burn inside.

The steel-sided warehouse is part of a former paper mill once owned by Scott Paper Co. and then Kimberly-Clark Corp. The former mill is now a warehouse for Marden’s Surplus & Salvage.

The warehouse is equipped with a sprinkler system that reportedly helped control the blaze as firefighters worked to gain entry into the building.

Murphy said firefighters face a difficult cleanup process due to the nature of the warehouse’s contents.

“They stacked (the paper) about 20 feet high, and each bale is about 3,000 pounds, so once they get saturated, they start to fall apart,” he said. “This is going to be a long process.”

The fire’s cause was still under investigation late Wednesday afternoon, Murphy said.

Firefighters from Winslow, Albion, Clinton, Oakland, Waterville and Vassalboro were among those who responded to the blaze.

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