April 27, 2018
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Tissue dust touches off fire at Lincoln mill

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — A small fire at the Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill Sunday morning failed to disrupt the operation of the Nos. 6 and 7 tissue machines.

Three fire engines and a ladder truck from the Lincoln Fire Department and another engine from Howland answered the fire call, which came in at 9:17 a.m. Crews had the fire completely put out in a little over a half hour.

“Everyone was back here by 10:30 and there was no significant damage,” said a Lincoln firefighter who preferred not to be identified. “When we got there, there was some smoke showing from the roof line, but other than that, not much to speak of.”

Both fire and company officials said excessive dust buildup on the girders and beams contributed to the fire.

“We don’t know the exact cause, but we’ll be doing an investigation,” said Bill Peterson, Lincoln Paper and Tissue’s vice president of human resources. “This has happened before, but not often. We have to be very diligent when it comes to the tissue and sawdust because heat can build up and cause fires.”

The machine is in a metal building and the fire started in the rafters.

The fire crews used thermal imaging to pinpoint the hot spot of the fire and used it again to make sure there were no lingering, smoldering portions after the fire was put out.

“We didn’t lose any production. The machines, which usually run 24-7, continued operating, but we were nearing a grade change, so that gave us a good chance to disassemble and clean it thoroughly,” Peterson said.

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