May 26, 2020
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Chemical spill forces evacuation of Bangor FedEx facility

BANGOR, Maine — A chemical spill at the FedEx facility on Godsoe Road caused a small fire and forced the building to be evacuated on Friday morning, according to officials.

Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Cyr said the fire was contained to a trailer. Firefighters moved the trailer away from the building and put out the fire after learning what chemical was burning. Cyr described it as an oxidizer. An oxidizer can be a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical often used to facilitate the combustion of other materials, such as fuel.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 5 a.m., Bangor Assistant Chief Dennis Nadeau said later Friday, along with a hazardous materials team from the Orono Fire Department.

Nadeau said one employee who was using a forklift was exposed to some of the smoke and hazardous chemical, but was decontaminated at the scene. He was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for precautionary measures.

According to Nadeau, the drums in which the chemicals were being transported broke open, causing the fire.

“It’s unknown how they got broken open,” he said. “While removing [the chemical] there was some friction that caused something to catch on fire.”

Nadeau described the oxidizer is a white powdery substance that is highly combustible and can be sensitive to heat. Firefighters pulled the truck away from the building for fear the facility would become involved.

According to Nadeau, no packages were damaged but some cardboard containers sustained minor damage.

The incident forced firefighters to close down Perry and Godsoe Roads and Thatcher Street for precautionary measures, but the roads have reopened, Nadeau said. No residences were evacuated.

Nadeau also thanked the Orono hazmat team for its assistance.

The Orono hazmat team remained at the scene Friday afternoon and Bangor also had a crew on standby.


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