Smoke causes evacuation of Rockland Staples

Posted Dec. 15, 2011, at 12:51 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 15, 2011, at 5:51 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Staples in Rockland was evacuated Wednesday night after an employee smelled smoke in the building.

Assistant Chief Adam Miceli of the Rockland Fire Department said Thursday that about a dozen firefighters responded to the 7:50 p.m. call for help, with more on standby, because of the size of the building and the number of people who could have been inside.

Store officials decided to evacuate the store before the firefighters arrived, he said. The smoke was caused by a malfunctioning electric heater in the building’s vestibule.

“We don’t believe there were actual flames inside the building,” Miceli said Thursday morning.

Firefighters shut down the power to the heating unit, which solved the problem.

“We were fortunate that it was as easy as it was,” he said.

Vickie Holt, operations manager at the Staples, said that the store was closed for about 40 minutes and was able to reopen before its regular 9 p.m. closing time.

She said that the incident happened late enough in the evening that not many shoppers were affected. No injuries were reported.