ELLSWORTH, Maine — Two industrial buildings, one on Route 1 and another about 10 miles away in Trenton, caught fire Thursday night, sending firefighters from several Hancock County towns scrambling to put out the flames.
Nautilus Marine Fabrication in Trenton Business Park off Route 3 was destroyed as fire burned through the roof and engulfed the interior of the long, metal building. C&C Machine on Route 1 west of downtown Ellsworth was heavily damaged but the front end of the building, which also housed an office for Coastal Drilling & Blasting, may be salvageable, according to Ellsworth Fire Chief Jon Marshall.
Marshall said Thursday night that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is expected to send investigators to each fire scene on Friday to investigate how they started. There were no known injuries from either fire.
Marshall said there was nothing suspicious about the fire at C&C Machine, which was discovered and reported around 6:10 p.m. The business had been closed up and locked for the evening and no one was in the building when heavy smoke was seen coming from the back end, he said.
The Ellsworth fire chief said that C&C employees had been working in the building earlier on Thursday but that he had no indication of what may have started the blaze. The fire appeared to have caused the most damage to the center of the building, where the machine shop and a rear storage area are connected. He said that much of the equipment inside the shop, including two pickup trucks, a boat, a forklift and a high-pressure water cutting machine, was damaged.
“I don’t know how much he’ll salvage,” Marshall said, referring to Lamoine resident Glenn Crawford, who owns the shop. “He’s looking at a big loss. He did say he was insured.”
Marshall said firefighters decided not to go inside beyond a rear vestibule in the building because of the hazards posed by a burning machine shop in a metal building. He said wind was a factor, though not a big one. Firefighters had to make sure the wind didn’t fan flames inside the building when they cut through the exterior so they could spray water inside.
Approximately 25 firefighters from Ellsworth and maybe seven or eight each from Lamoine and Surry responded to the fire alarm at C&C Machine and were there for less than three hours, Marshall said. They broke glass doors and windows in the metal building and cut holes through the exterior to spray water inside. While battling the blaze, firefighters removed several acetylene tanks that were inside a rear door to the building while smoke poured from the open doorway.
Less information was available Thursday night about the Trenton fire, which was reported about five minutes before 7 p.m. Fire officials in Trenton were busy at the scene late Thursday night and were unavailable for comment.
The Trenton fire appeared to engulf the entire length of the Nautilus building and completely burned through the roof. Firefighters from Bar Harbor, Lamoine and Mount Desert assisted Trenton at the scene.
Firefighters at the scene, as in Ellsworth, opened doors and broke windows so they could spray water inside without entering the building themselves.
At both fire scenes, rain and low cloud cover appeared to keep the smoke at ground level, which limited visibility on nearby roads.
Fire departments also were mobilized in the Hancock County towns of Blue Hill, Dedham, Deer Isle, Hancock and Orland either to help cover stations in other towns or to stand by at their own stations in case they were needed.