DIXFIELD — A fire at Irving Forest Products specialty mill Thursday afternoon caused about $20,000 damage.

Dixfield Fire Chief Scott Dennett said a spark or heated metal from the planer apparently started the 1:20 p.m. blaze. Twelve people were working at the time and all were safely evacuated.

Machinery and electrical components or wiring were damaged, but not any products.

Dennett said the planer is the equipment that creates the tongue grooves in boards.

He said the mill’s internal sprinkler came on, which helped contain the spread of the fire.

About 35 firefighters and six vehicles from Dixfield, Peru, Mexico and Rumford responded to the call. A tanker and an engine from the East Dixfield Fire Department stood by at the Dixfield station.

Irving Division Manager Susan Coulombe said the second shift was scheduled to come in late Thursday afternoon to help with the cleanup. However, the specialty mill will be closed until Dec. 28.

None of the specialty mill employees, or any other employee at the mill, will lose work because of the fire. Coulombe said the company traditionally shuts down the week of Christmas.

Although Coulombe estimated damage at about $20,000, that figure could change once the electrical systems are checked out.

Firefighters left the scene at about 3:30 p.m.

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