December 3, 2013

Employees control small fire at Waterville business

No known damage from fire reported at Huhtamaki Tuesday.

Staff Report

WATERVILLE — A small fire Tuesday afternoon at paper product manufacturer Huhtamaki Inc. was extinguished quickly and caused no damage, according to a fire official.

click image to enlarge

BIG TURNOUT: Lt. John Gromek of the Waterville Fire Department talks about a fire in a cardboard baler Tuesday at the Huhtamaki plant in Waterville.

Staff photo by David Leaming

The fire started in a cardboard baler a little after noon Tuesday and the cause was unknown late Tuesday afternoon, according to Lt. John Gromek, of the Waterville Fire Department.

There was no damage to the factory or the baler, Gromek said.

“We haven’t had a chance to talk to the company about what might have caused it,” Gromek said. “They have their electricians working on it to figure out what happened.”

The machine, which compacts cardboard into a condensed square, is being taken apart to remove any remaining cardboard still inside, Gromek said.

Attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful.

The company is the ninth-largest private employer in Kennebec County, according to the Maine Department of Labor. The company is listed as having up to 500 employees, according to the department.

By the time Waterville, Winslow and Fairfield fire departments responded to the incident, employees had controlled the fire, Gromek said.

The factory, which straddles the border separating Waterville and Fairfield, is a packaging manufacturer that focuses on molded fiber packaging, flexible packaging and paper cup manufacturing.

Traffic into Fairfield on College Avenue was reduced to one lane during the incident.

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