ATHENS — A Cornville firefighter is recovering from injuries he suffered while fighting a fire that damaged a building at Maine Woods Pellet Co. in Athens Wednesday evening.

The firefighter, whom Cornville Fire Department declined to identify, was driven by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and then taken by LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to Maine Medical Center, according to a statement from the department. The firefighter, who suffered what was described as an airway injury, remained at the hospital on Thursday and was expected to make a recovery, the statement said.

The fire was reported around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and firefighters worked for more than three hours, according to Athens fire Chief Travis Thompson. The fire was on the second floor of the building, where wood pellets are manufactured, and flames spread into the rafters, according to Thompson.

“Because of the large amount of wood dust, the fire was very hard to extinguish,” Thompson said.

Eight area fire departments responded to the fire with 30-40 firefighters, according to Madison fire Chief Don French, who said officials think the fire started when someone was welding there earlier in the day. Firefighters left the scene around 8:30 p.m., he said.

A woman who answered the phone at Maine Woods Pellet Thursday said an official there declined to comment on the fire.


French said he could not comment on the amount of damage caused to the building, which has a metal exterior. “I was told it would take quite a while to repair,” he said.

Firefighters from Athens, Madison, Skowhegan, Harmony, Solon, Anson, Canaan and Cornville worked at the scene, and Norridgewock stood by for area departments, according to French.

French said he arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. and he could see no damage from the outside of the building as all the fire occurred inside, up near the roof.

“A few employees were assisting with the fire,” he said. “The mill itself was shut down.”

He said the state Fire Marshal’s Office was notified that a firefighter was injured.

Maine Woods Pellet was the scene of a fire in March 2021 that was reported to have occurred in a dryer.

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