January 14, 2020
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Wiscasset Fire Department violated air quality rules when it burned old Huber’s Market

Jessica Clifford | Lincoln County News
Jessica Clifford | Lincoln County News
Firefighters watch the circa-1960s Huber’s Market building go up in flames during a training exercise in Wiscasset in this Aug. 4. 2019, file photo.

The town of Wiscasset has been fined $1,000 after its fire department violated air quality standards and created a public safety threat when it burned the old Huber’s Market on Route 1.

In a memo dated Jan. 3, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection said the Wiscasset Fire Department failed to remove waste material prior to the burn, did not investigate if asbestos or lead paint was present, did not have a written training plan and created a “nuisance and public safety threat” during the demolition of the Huber’s Market building.

The memo states that fluorescent light tubes, light fixtures, small appliances, aerosol and paint cans and other items appeared to have been burned inside the building in violation of state law. Billowing smoke from the fire also disrupted traffic on Route 1, creating a nuisance also in violation of state law, according to the document.

Wiscasset Town Manager John O’Connell said during a Dec. 17 Board of Selectmen meeting that it was “tough to meet all the regulations for a training burn,” but acknowledged that violations occurred during the live burn, according to meeting minutes.

The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to accept the consent agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection and authorize O’Connell to pay the $1,000 fine, according to the meeting minutes.

The department’s Jan. 3 memo notes that an analysis of ash from the burn found no hazardous material and that the town took corrective actions.

On Aug. 4, Alna, Dresden, Edgecomb and Woolwich fire departments joined Wiscasset firefighters for the controlled burn of the former Huber’s Market on Route 1, also known as Bath Road, according to Lincoln County News. The location is now home to a Dollar General, the newspaper reports.

Wiscasset Fire Chief T.J. Merry was relieved of his post on Sept. 4 because the fire department did not follow applicable policy and regulations for the Aug. 4 burn, Lincoln County News reports.

 



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