Employee injured in metal recycling business fire

Posted May 27, 2011, at 8:35 p.m.

CARMEL, Maine — An employee of Ideal Recycling Inc. at 235 Main Road suffered underarm burns Friday afternoon after materials he was cutting ignited in flames.

Carmel Fire Chief Michael Azevedo said details were sketchy Friday night, but that the employee was using a battery-operated hand tool to slice up a 55-gallon drum in an area of the business where fuel is recycled. Without warning, the fire flared up.

“He was burned on the undersides of his arms trying to protect his face,” said Azevedo. The employee, whose name was unknown at press time, was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with injuries that were not life-threatening. Azevedo theorized that a spark from the hand tool — which was not a cutting torch — might have ignited some fuel or another liquid that was in the area.

The fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The accident happened near a large pile of junk cars and other scrap metal. Azevedo said crews were able to stop the fire from spreading to the scrap pile, which would have caused an inferno that could have taken most of the weekend to douse.

“Once it got into the pile we would have been there for a long time,” said Azevedo. “The only way to put it out would have been to pull that pile apart, piece by piece.”

Fire crews from Carmel, Hermon, Levant, Dixmont and Newburgh went to the fire scene.

Azevedo said there was a minor fire at Ideal Recycling last year and that the company had taken many steps to prevent another.

“They run a pretty clean operation,” he said. “This was just an unfortunate accident.”

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