Camper rollover forces partial shutdown of I-95 in Fairfield

Posted July 20, 2014, at 12:13 p.m.
Last modified July 20, 2014, at 7:48 p.m.

FAIRFIELD, Maine — A largely wooden 32-foot camper rolled over on Interstate 95 and jammed southbound traffic for 5½ hours on Sunday and broke apart when rescue workers tried to move it, officials said.

An elderly Brunswick man was towing an apparently brand-new Hornet camper with a pickup truck in the southbound lane near mile marker 134 when the accident occurred at about 10:30 a.m., a state police dispatcher said.

The man, who was not identified, suffered minor injuries. Delta Ambulance Co. workers treated him at the scene, firefighters said.

The trailer landed on its side in both lanes and quickly backed traffic up to the Clinton exit. The camper quickly proved itself to be difficult to move when emergency-service workers tried to winch it onto flatbed trailers, said Mitch Morrison of China, a tow-truck operator with Arbos Towing and Repair of Waterville.

“It was a big mess,” Morrison, 18, said Sunday. “The cabin of the camper itself was made out of wood and plywood, small stuff that was not made to withstand the pressure we were putting on it. Everything kept snapping.”

The camper was almost immovable with winches because its metal frame detached from the wooden housing it supported, Fairfield and Benton Fire-Rescue Department Fire Capt. Mike Murphy said Sunday.

That forced firefighters to cut the electrical and fuel lines within the camper to make it moveable.

Firefighters and wrecker operators got one of two lanes of traffic open after about an hour, but state police had to keep closing the open lane to make room for the wrecker operators as they struggled with their work, a state police dispatcher said.

Morrison’s company used three flatbed trucks to haul away the pickup truck, the metal frame of the camper — including its axles and septic tanks — and small wood and metallic debris. Another company used an excavator bucket that had a thumb to put the wooden framing that remained onto a heavy-duty flatbed truck, Morrison said.

Emergency-service workers and state police had the accident site cleaned up and traffic flowing at 3:51 p.m., a state police dispatcher said.

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the accident had occurred Saturday morning.

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