May 28, 2018
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Millinocket credit union partly reopened after fire

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Firefighters respond to a fire at the Katahdin Federal Credit Union building in Millinocket on Jan. 8. No one was injured.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

MILLINOCKET, Maine — Katahdin Federal Credit Union will likely reopen next week as workers continued Thursday to repair damage from a recent fire at the financial institution, credit union president Don Casko said.

The credit union reopened its two drive-throughs and automated services with two workers at the Central Street office on Wednesday morning. Credit union officials discontinued a temporary work station at Eastmill Federal Credit Union in East Millinocket on Wednesday night.

“We have some life safety code things we have to resolve. The workers are in there. It is just a matter of getting the work done,” Casko said Thursday.

Credit union employee Molly Jamieson and Linwood Roix, a second-floor tenant, were taken to Millinocket Regional Hospital as a precaution after suffering some smoke inhalation. The fire did heavy damage to a boiler room and other second floor areas at 1000 Central St. on Jan. 8.

Fire investigators suspect that the fire originated with an electrical problem, Casko said. The incident began when just-arriving credit union workers smelled smoke and called the fire department on its routine telephone line. The workers were reporting their concerns when the building’s fire alarm activated, automatically triggering an alarm at the fire station.

Millinocket Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Malcolm immediately called for mutual aid from East Millinocket and firefighters contained the fire quickly. Smoke and water damage occurred on the first floor in the center of the building behind the front-door lobby, and smoke damage occurred in the attic area of the 2.5-story building, Malcolm said at the time.

“The main lobby and front half of the building have been cleaned out [and are] ready to go with the exception of the fire alarms,” Casko said. “The repair work is going very well. Most of the damage was contained in the central part of the building.”

Credit union customers can still access nearly 160 credit union locations statewide via the Maine Credit Union Shared Branch Network, Casko said.

The credit union, which employs about 25 people, has kept its workers occupied in the East Millinocket credit union, KFCU’s Island Falls office and its insurance office in Millinocket as the repair work is completed. The fire forced no layoffs, Casko said. Casko complimented firefighters for stopping the fire as quickly as they did.

“It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

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