Cause of fires at firms probed

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff
Posted May 15, 2009, at 8:16 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office on Friday were at the scenes of two fires that occurred Thursday night, one in Trenton and one in Ellsworth. The officials were inspecting what remained of the buildings in an effort to determine what caused the fires.

Fire destroyed the Nautilus Marine Fabrication Building at the Trenton Business Park off Route 3 in Trenton. A second fire heavily damaged a portion of the building at C&C Machine on Route 1 west of the city in Ellsworth.

By late afternoon, the investigators had made no determinations in either blaze.

In Trenton, the investigation focused on the north end of the 40-by-150-foot building, which is where firefighters said the fire began. Trenton Fire Chief Kelton Muise said that portion of the building was ablaze when firefighters arrived on the scene.

“That end was all on fire,” he said. “When I got here it had already melted out the [overhead] doors.”

The construction of the building made it difficult for firefighters to fight the fire, he said. The building had a wooden frame with metal sheathing on both the outside and the interior of the building.

“There was no way to get at it,” he said.

The owners, Jimmy Patten and Stephen Breton, were at the scene Friday afternoon and said they planned to reopen.

“We’d like to be back up and running in a little while,” Patten said.

Patten said they have received a number of offers to help with a place to set up shop or with equipment.

“There have been so many people who have called and offered to help; even our competitors have offered to help,” he said. “It’s quite overwhelming. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about how many people there are that want to help us.”

The building was insured.

In Ellsworth, inspectors were searching for the cause of the fire that damaged C&C Machine. According to Ellsworth Fire Chief Jonathan Marshall, the fire started in a work area between the main shop and a large addition. The building was a metal building, similar to the building in Trenton but not sheathed inside, Marshall said. That made the fire easier to fight, he said. Also, the fire burned into and through the roof, which ventilated the building. With the smoke rising out of the building, firefighters were able to see what they were doing.

Employees told firefighters they had been having trouble with the lights in one section of the shop. The investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office called in an electrical inspector to look at the wiring in the building.

Both the shops had been closed for the day and no employees were in the buildings when the fires started. No one was injured.

Both fire chiefs said they had plenty of help through the mutual aid agreements among the local towns. Crews from Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor and Lamoine fought the blaze in Trenton. Firefighters from Surry and Lamoine went to the scene in Ellsworth, and crews from Blue Hill, Dedham, Deer Isle, Hancock and Orland covered stations during the fire or stood by in their own stations in case they were needed.

rhewitt@bangordailynews.net

667-9394

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/05/15/news/cause-of-fires-at-firms-probed/ printed on July 24, 2014