LAMOINE, Maine — Firefighters spent less than 10 minutes Friday putting out a fire on an industrial-size chipper but worked for nearly three hours to clean up the mess it left behind.
It was the second time that the department has been called to put out a fire involving this specific chipper, Lamoine Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Stu Marckoon said Saturday. The first time was in March 2007.
The machinery is owned by George Moon of Moonshine Transport, who told firefighters that he had just left a woodcutting job on Partridge Cove Road in Lamoine when he spotted flames coming from the chipper.
“The flames were higher than the utility lines,” Marckoon said. “We were able to put it out in five to 10 minutes, but it was very hot and steamed for quite a while. There were fluids, hydraulics and oil, leaking from it, and there was a nearby stream.”
Firefighters stopped the flow of the fluids and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was called to the scene. “DEP hired a local contractor who constructed a cofferdam to keep the leakage out of the stream,” Marckoon said.
Marckoon said some of the 14 firefighters who responded were covered in the fluids and their turnout gear will have to be cleaned. “It was a mess,” he said.
No one was injured.
The wood chipper was destroyed, and Moon estimated it will cost about $300,000 to replace. He told firefighters he was insured.