June 18, 2018
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Workers contain chip mill fire in Chester before firefighters arrive

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

CHESTER, Maine – Workers at the Gardner’s Chip Mill doused a fire at the bottom of a woodchip bin on Tuesday before Lincoln firefighters arrived, Lincoln Fire Chief Phil Dawson said Wednesday.

The fire, firefighters said, drew four firetrucks and about a dozen firefighters, who checked to ensure that the flames had not spread onto a conveyer belt or other areas within the vast mill at 5 Chester Road.

No one was injured.

“The workers there noticed it starting. They started digging it out and one of their own trucks there had it out, pretty much, before we got there,” Dawson said Wednesday.

The fire was reported at about 7 p.m., a Penobscot Regional Communications Center dispatcher said. The fire was reported under control about 35 minutes later. The first trucks arrived within 10 minutes of the call being received, firefighters said.

The bin was located near a wood-chipping machine. Chips from the bin would go by way of conveyer belt to another bin for distribution to trucks that haul the chips to pulp and paper mills, firefighters said.

Firefighters believed that the blaze started when some chips or wood debris got caught in a wheel to a conveyer belt and set off a spark.

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