Wednesday, 30 January 2019 16:08

Dryer malfunction cause of factory fire

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WATERVILLE - A fire that swept through a factory Tuesday night caused more than $1 million in damage.

That estimate of the damage to the Huhtamaki plant was listed on the Waterville Fire Department's Facebook page Wednesday morning.


Investigators said a malfunction in a dryer sparked the fire.


According to the Facebook post, the fire quickly spread along the roof line, overpowering the sprinkler system. The post also said employees already were working on repairs.


Multiple crews from surrounding towns assisted Waterville fighters in knocking down the fire, which broke out before 7 p.m. Tuesday at the company's College Avenue location.


One firefighter was sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.


Waterville Fire Chief Shawn Esler said the size of the building and the weather made the fire a difficult one to fight.


"This building is several thousand feet long," he said. "Obviously we have water running through the hose lines, that water freezes at 32 degrees. I don't know what the temperature is but it's a lot less than 32 degrees."


Esler said there was damage to machinery but the plant is not a total loss.


According to its website, the company is based in Finland and the Waterville factory makes paper plates.