May 23, 2018
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Snapped wire shuts Lincoln paper mill

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC was back in production Friday after a snapped guy wire and transformer fire cost the company as many as 20 hours of production time, co-owner Keith Van Scotter said.

No one was injured in the incident, Van Scotter and Lincoln Fire Chief Phil Dawson said Friday.

The guy wire bracing a pole near a transformer parted and caused the transformer to short out, sparking the fire and causing the mill shutdown. The incident was reported at about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Lincoln firefighters said.

The transformer was part of a 44,000-volt power line that ran to the mill from the Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. substation in Chester, Dawson said.

The extent of the damage is unclear, Van Scotter said, but an electrical switch might have been broken.

“Having the place shut down like that is a costly thing,” Van Scotter said. “It’s a very unfortunate, unpredictable type of occurrence.”

Usually plant managers can point to discernible causes for shutdowns, such as electrical storms or human error, but this incident lacks that clarity, said Van Scotter, who was away from the plant when the incident occurred.

“It is just one of those things,” he said. “In this case, it was just a freaky accident. A cable snapped, and we don’t know why it snapped.”

Lincoln Paper and Tissue employs about 400 workers making deep-dyed tissue used by many of the nation’s party goods producers, airlines and food service companies to create napkins, towels, table covers and other specialty tissue products, including medical draping, disposable gowns and beauticians’ neck strips.

Its paper mill produces premium quality Business Reply Card, Offset, Index and Vellum Bristol papers.

The shutdown was the first in many months caused by an incident or accident. The mill has had a few small fires, usually caused by sparks igniting sawdust during very dry weather conditions.

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