NEWPORT, Maine — Three employees of Newport Industrial Fabrication Inc. were injured Monday afternoon when they tried to extinguish a fire that was spreading inside a wall before firefighters arrived.
Newport police Lt. Randy Wing said he was the first rescue worker to arrive on the scene at 445 Elm St. after the fire was reported at 2:37 p.m. He circled to a large garage bay in the back of the building and found several employees armed with fire extinguishers.
“All of a sudden I heard a loud crash,” said Wing. “An employee who was up on a ladder with a fire extinguisher fell about 30 feet off the ladder.”
The employee, whose name was not released Monday afternoon, suffered several injuries on one side of his body, including a badly broken shoulder, said Wing. The employee was taken by Sebasticook Valley Hospital ambulance to the nearby Bradstreet Farm on Ridge Road, where he was picked up by a LifeFlight helicopter and taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Two other employees who were nearby when the man fell also suffered minor injuries. One had a bump on his head and was taken to Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield. The other, Dan Gerry, who is the president and owner of Newport Industrial Fabrication, suffered a scratch on his neck that did not require medical attention, said Newport Fire Chief Jeff Chretien. Gerry declined to comment.
The fire required the company’s employees to be evacuated, but most of them were back to work by about 3:45 p.m.
Chretien said he suspected that the fire was caused by workers who were grinding metal in the area but that the cause likely would be investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office because of the injury to the worker.
The fire damaged electrical wiring that will have to be repaired, said Chretien.
“We stopped it pretty much where it started,” he said. “It didn’t spread very far.”
Crews from Newport, Corinna, Etna, Dexter, Detroit and Carmel went to the fire scene, as well as ambulances from Sebasticook Valley Hospital and Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft.