Second only to those shoes from New Balance, the most well known product to come out of Central Maine is the ice cream from Gifford's Famous Ice Cream.

According to the KJ, there was a fire at the company's Hathaway Street, Skowhegan facility on Thursday.

The article explains that the fire department received the call at about 9:30 on Thursday morning.  The department had lots of help with this one.  In all, there were over 40 firefighters on site within just a few minutes.  An addition to personnel from the Skowhegan Fire Department, firefighters from Athens, Clinton, Fairfield, Madison, Norridgewock and Waterville also stepped up to help.

Firefighters had the flames under control in about an hour.

While we can't be 100% sure, we can guess that one of the reasons for the sizable turnout of firefighters was the understanding that the building is fairly large and the fact that a business like Gifford's Famous Ice Cream is important to the town's economy.

A representative for the ice cream company said that there were employees in the building when the fire broke out, but that everyone made it out alright.

Gifford’s Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Gifford Skilling explained that the part of the building that was heavily damaged in the fire was the section of the factory where the milk and cream are mixed.

Gifford's Famous Ice Cream has been in business for about 50 years and the ice cream produced at the Skowhegan plant is shipped (and enjoyed) all over New England.

The company had very humble beginnings.  Their website says:

Audrey and Randall Gifford started whipping up small batches of ice cream using Audrey’s parents’ simple recipes for strawberry, peach, wild blueberry, and coffee ice cream–neighbors clambered for a taste, and soon the family was making ice cream year-round to keep up with demand.

In the over 40 years since then, the company has produced millions of gallons of ice cream and their ice cream stands have served up millions and millions of cones!

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