LISBON — Fast action on the part of three dozen firefighters from three towns quickly contained a blaze Thursday at an abandoned fiberboard plant at the Topsham town line.
Fire broke out at 6:40 p.m. in the old Knight-Celotex plant at 743 Lisbon Road. Formerly the town's third-largest employer, the plant has been shuttered since the Illinois-based corporation was forced into Chapter 7 liquidation in June 2009.
Lisbon fire Chief Sean Galipeau said crews arrived on the scene within minutes and had the blaze knocked down in 20 minutes. He said crews from Lisbon, Topsham and Durham responded to the scene, while crews from Lewiston and Bowdoin provided station coverage for the department. An emergency crew from Lisbon was also on scene.
Galipeau said the abandoned plant is owned by a Delaware-based salvage company. A representative from the company told Galipeau that a work crew cut a large steel beam in the area where the fire broke out just hours before the call. Galipeau said sparks from cutting the beam were likely the cause of the fire.
Deputy Chief Marc Veilleux said the blaze was contained to an area of the plant once known as a "drying room" where large kilns were used to dry the wood fiberboard made at the plant.
Galipeau said the fire was not considered suspicious, and the building was uninsured.
Products made at the former plant were constructed of up to 99 percent organic material, primarily post-industrial, recycled Maine wood waste. By substituting a vegetable starch for formaldehyde, the products met Green Building Initiative standards, which the company promoted heavily as "Green Building."
Before it was owned by Knight-Celotex, the building housed the U.S. Gypsum Co., which produced insulating fiberboard and ceiling tiles.