May 27, 2018
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Caribou plant that makes bags damaged by fire

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

CARIBOU, Maine — Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into a fire Friday evening that smoldered all weekend at Northeast Packaging Co. on Sincock Street.

Although a portion of the bag manufacturing plant was damaged, the facility was back at full operation Monday.

Caribou Fire Chief Roy Woods said Monday that the fire broke out just before 10:30 p.m. Friday at the structure sometimes referred to as the old Maine Bag Co. building.

Northeast Packaging Co. manufactures paper and other bags used mainly to package potatoes and other vegetables, apples, rice and bakery products.

According to the chief, employees were working inside the facility Friday evening. When they walked outside to take a break, workers saw smoke and flames coming out of another part of the building and reported the blaze.

Woods said the whole west end of the building was consumed when firefighters arrived.

“There was a sprinkler system in the building and that helped some,” said the chief.

Fire crews fought the blaze for seven hours Friday evening and into Saturday morning. Crews returned several times Sunday and Monday to deal with smoldering ruins and hot spots. “We have been on the scene three or four hours daily ever since because of the amount of paper in the facility,” Woods said Monday.

He estimated that 250 feet of the estimated 625-foot building was damaged. The chief said the damaged part of the building was used as a storage center, so the fire did not damage vital machinery.

“We were able to stop the fire from moving through the whole building,” Woods said.

Crews returned to work Monday morning, according to the chief.

No one was injured, and the building was thought to be insured.

The department received mutual aid from fire departments in Presque Isle, Limestone, Washburn and Fort Fairfield. Woods commended all of the firefighters involved in battling the blaze.

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