November 13, 2019
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Fire destroys office building for Belfast potato processor

Abigail Curtis | BDN
Abigail Curtis | BDN
Dozens of firefighters worked Thursday evening to extinguish a fire that engulfed the administrative building at Belfast's Penobscot McCrum potato-processing plant.

A fire that broke out Thursday night spared the Penobscot McCrum potato-processing plant in Belfast, but completely destroyed an office building used by the company, according to fire officials.

The only thing left of the office building Friday morning was the cellar, according to Belfast Fire Chief Jim Richards.

After investigating the scene on Friday, officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office were unable to determine the cause of the fire, according to a release from Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.

Fire crews were called to 28 Pierce St. around 6 p.m. Thursday after two women who were cleaning the office building reported seeing flames, Richards said. No one was injured in the fire, and the two women cleaning the building were the only people inside at the time of the blaze, he said.

Firefighters worked more than six hours Thursday night, Richards said. Ultimately an excavator had to be brought in to remove the roof so firefighters could better reach the fire. Crews from Searsmont and Morril assisted Belfast firefighters.

At no point during Thursday’s blaze did flames spread to the potato-processing plant ― where chemicals are stored ― just 60 feet or so away from the office building, Richards said.

Investigators determined that the fire started in the building’s attic, “but because the building was destroyed, the exact cause cannot be determined,” McCausland said.

A message left for officials at Penobscot McCrum was not returned Friday.


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