Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

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Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

Portland Press Herald
Wednesday, January 21, 2004Fire destroys Rumford mill building Associated Press©Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.   [img]http://www.portland.com/photos/040121millfire.jpg[/img]
[i]Lewiston Sun Journal photo
Excavators clear debris after a fire destroyed a maintenance building at the MeadWestvaco paper mill in Rumford on Tuesday.[/i] RUMFORD "” A fire destroyed a maintenance building at the MeadWestvaco paper mill on Tuesday, shutting down paper machines and forcing workers out of part of the mill.The fire was reported shortly after 4:30 a.m. in a wooden building that housed maintenance offices, storage areas and an air-conditioning repair shop.Fire Chief John Woulfe said investigators determined the building collapsed and somehow ignited a fire. The fire is believed to have caused acetylene and oxygen tanks in the building to explode.At one point, flames shot three stories high, said Gary Hemingway, president of Local 900 of the Paper Allied Industrial Chemical Energy Workers International Union. Smoke billowed above the mill and into other buildings.The building that burned was attached to the old part of the mill, but the fire was contained before it could spread.Emergency and town officials said the fire was contained by 8:30 a.m. Two employees were taken to Rumford Memorial Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.The mill's three operating paper machines, as well as a pulp dryer and finishing machines, were shut down and part of the mill was evacuated, said Steven Hudson, the mill's director for manufacturing services.One of the machines was back up and running in the early afternoon, and the others were expected to be operating in the evening, Hudson said. He didn't expect the fire to have any further impact on operations.Woulfe said investigators think the building, which was among the older structures in the mill complex, may have collapsed because of weight from ice on the roof. Company officials were assessing the damage to put an estimate on the loss.[url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/state/040121millfire.shtml]http://www.pr...

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Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

WLBZ2.com
1/20/04PAPER MILL FIRE IN RUMFORD A fire at the Mead-Westvaco paper mill in Rumford is under control after an apparent explosion in a building sent it up in flames shortly before five a-m. (Rumford-AP) -- Mead-Westvaco officials say the fire destroyed a building that housed maintenance offices, storage areas and an air conditioner repair shop. The mill's three operating paper machines, as well as the pulp dryer and finishing machines, were shut down. Employees were evacuated from the old part of the mill. Other parts continued operating as usual. One worker was taken to Rumford Community Hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation. Witnesses told firefighters that the building's roof collapsed before they heard an explosion. Mead-Westvaco spokesman Steven Hudson said the mill is expected to be up and running again sometime this afternoon.CHRIS FACCHINI WAS ON THE SCENE EARLY THIS MORNING, AND WILL HAVE FULL DETAILS BEGINNING ON NEWS CENTER AT NOON. [url=http://www.wlbz2.com/newscenter/article.asp?id=11039]http://www.wlbz2.co...

Sockalexis
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Joined: 10/22/2003 - 12:01am
Re: Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

this whole state seems to be systematically burning...rumford
lewiston
bangor TWICE...what is going on around here

LMD
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Joined: 02/24/2003 - 1:01am
Re: Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

Sockalexis,
Interesting observation you make.Here's my conspiracy-type theory about the whole thing (hold on to your hat...) Start eerie music now...Perhaps these "fires" in Maine are more than just a coincidence.
Reminds me of when we lived in AZ, on the outskirts of Phoenix. Moved there in 1990, population of the city at that time was, if I remember correctly, about the same as the entire population of Maine.
Development of the valley's fringes began to ramp up, with Del Webb as one of the major players. (Their gated communities are quite popular out there.) Webb had their eye on several huge parcels of land, but two in particular come to mind. The citizens of Phoenix wanted neither parcel to be developed but left for recreational usage and some for wildlife habitat. Webb fought a long, hard battle but eventually won.Here's where the conspiracy theory comes in...
Webb was required to leave a certain amount of land for common use and for habitat, and had a long list of do's and don'ts to follow before beginning construction. For instance, they had to be very cautious not to damage protected species of cacti (like saguaro) and move them if they were in the way of construction. And on thousands of acres, that's alot of cacti...but I digress.And we all know how helliously hot and dry it is out there, and how land can go up in a flash once a fire starts.Well, interestingly enough "wildfires" started on both those parcels of land (at different times) with everything being consumed and THEN some!! Doesn't take much for 10,000 acres of desert to burn. And what is left is pretty much barren land...just waiting for the bulldozers to come in and level the dirt!Pretty convenient, if you ask me :eek: So who knows, maybe these "fires" are part of someone's "development plans" for Maine. Maybe the envirowhackos started the fire in the paper mill? Hmmmmm...Ok, enough twilight zone thinking for tonight!

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Re: Paper Mill Fire in Rumford

Lewiston Sun Journal
January 21, 2004
[img]http://www.sunjournal.com/photos/012104mead1.jpg[/img]
[i]MEADWESTVACO BURNING: Strong gusting winds momentarily cleared smoke away from a collapsed, burning building at MeadWestvaco's mill in Rumford Tuesday morning. -- Terry Karkos/Sun Journal[/i]RUMFORDFlames shoot 100 feet in air, 300 workers evacuatedBy Terry Karkos
Staff Writer
Fire broke out early Tuesday morning at the MeadWestvaco paper mill complex after a 100-year-old maintenance office building collapsed.People living in the area said they heard an explosion about 4:30 a.m. that shook houses in Rumford and Mexico. Smaller explosions heard and felt by witnesses were attributed afterward to acetylene and oxygen tanks stored in the building, said fire Chief John Woulfe.The explosions were followed by flames that leaped up to 100 feet above the two-story building.About 100 firefighters from eight area towns responded to Rumford’s call for mutual aid assistance at the four-alarm inferno. Med-Care Ambulance also responded.Two MeadWestvaco employees were admitted to Rumford Hospital for smoke inhalation. They were treated and released, said mill spokesman Steve Hudson.“While we are concerned for our two employees who went to the hospital, we are relieved that their injuries appear to be minor at this time,” said Gary Curtis, vice president and mill manager.More than 300 employees were evacuated due to concerns about smoke exposure.As part of the evacuation, the mill’s three operating paper machines, a pulp dryer and finishing machines were shut down. Workers kept the pulp mill and utilities running; they were not threatened by the fire, Hudson said.“As smoke from the fire spread to other areas of the mill, employees were evacuated as a precaution,” Hudson said.Mill maintenance workers reported for duty each day to an office in the 100-by-100-foot building that collapsed and burned, but no one was believed to be inside when the roof caved in at 4:30, Hudson said.If it had happened at 8 a.m., “This could have been a very tough thing for us,” he said.Initially, Hudson said, a mill-wide alarm was sounded. It was shut off once officials realized that the evacuation process was under way and building sweeps were completed.“When the alarm came in, people in the areas were already assembling,” he said.Firefighters had the blaze under control by 8:30 a.m., but, 30 minutes later, flames were still visible when they weren’t obscured by heavy, roiling gray smoke.A cherry-picker truck from Roxbury was brought in to move debris and bring down walls to enable firefighters better access to still-burning sections.Hudson said the mill started its recovery efforts by 8 a.m., allowing a small assessment team to enter the area.The team is expected to “determine the extent of the damage, determine if the area is safe for recovery crews to enter, and assess our needs,” he explained.Woulfe said that a state Fire Marshal’s Office representative and Rumford fire investigators determined that “some type of buildup of ice” caused the building to collapse.Part of the roof slid off to the side, and walls collapsed into an alley, Woulfe said. Another section of the wooden structure fell downward.Investigators are not sure what caused the fire or where it originated, but Woulfe said when he arrived, flames were shooting more than two stories high due to the amount of material burning in the building.Crews for the largest paper machine complex were allowed to re-enter their operating area about noon after it had been determined to be safe, Hudson said. The mill was expected to reach full production later Tuesday.By 3:30 p.m., mill crews had restarted the paper machines and a pulp dryer, Hudson said.Curtis credited “the prompt and professional response” by the plant’s emergency response team and local fire departments. “This incident will have no long-term impact on the Rumford mill,” he said.Hudson said the cost of cleanup and repairs hadn’t been determined.
tkarkos@sunjournal.com[url=http://www.sunjournal.com/story.asp?slg=012104mead]http://www.sunjournal...

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