RUMFORD — Heat from a mechanical failure ignited a fire in the No. 15 paper machine at NewPage’s paper mill Monday, fire Chief Robert Chase said Tuesday.
There were no injuries and no damage to the machine, he said.
Over 25 firefighters from four towns responded to the scene at around 3:20 p.m.
“We immediately requested assistance from Mexico Fire Department and MedCare,” Chase said. “It’s standard procedure for us to ask for MedCare when responding to NewPage. We later asked for Dixfield and Peru fire departments to assist.”
Chase said firefighters discovered a small fire inside of the paper machine and small amounts of debris still burning in the basement.
“The machines in there are several stories tall, so in the basement, you can walk underneath the paper machine rolls,” he said. “When we got down there, we found there was still burning stuff falling down onto the guards, shields and I-beams.”
Chase said there wasn’t a lot of fire in the machine but the location of it made it difficult to put out.
“There are a lot of cracks and crevices under the paper machine, so it’s typically tough to access the fire in those machines and put them out,” he said.
The fire was caused by heat generated from a mechanical failure, Chase said.
Firefighters were there for about 80 minutes, he said.
“Whenever we respond to something at the mill, because it’s such a big place with limited resources, we try to have a lot of firefighters there,” Chase said. “It’s bigger than any house, and it’s a hot, humid environment, so there are further distances to travel. Having more firefighters makes it easier for our men to fight the fire.”