April 24, 2018
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Firefighters find smoke at Orrington house after power outage

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

ORRINGTON, Maine — Approximately 1,025 Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. customers on Center Drive and Route 15 lost power around 4:25 p.m. Sunday, but power was back on about 45 minutes later, according to Susan Faloon, company spokeswoman.

While the power was out, a power vent used in a century-old home in the 500 block of River Road, which is Route 15, stopped working and caused the seal to burn, Fire Chief Mike Spencer said.

“When the power came back up, the fan kicked on and blew all the smoke [from the burned seal] throughout the house,” the chief said.

The smelly, thick black smoke filled the old seaman’s house and alarmed homeowner Lee Washburn, who immediately called 911.

Responding firefighters found smoke, but no fire, Spencer said. Penobscot County deputies shut down the roadway while fire crews searched the home for the cause of the smoke.

“My guys tracked it down,” Spencer said. “This vent is inside the ductwork. It’s nothing you can see.”

The power vent works like a damper and is designed to open up to allow heat to circulate through the home’s heat ducts, the fire chief said.

The roadway was reopened to traffic around 6:30 p.m.

“There [was] a transformer issue on the Snows Corner Road,” Faloon said of the power outage.

A circuit breaker blew and was replaced, she said.

Correction: The headline on an early version of this story requires correction. Fire was not found at the home on River Road in Orrington.

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