Lightning Strike & Gas Leak Causes Evacuation Of Maine Paper Mill
An issue at one of Maine's last remaining papers mills, caused by the wild weather that rolled through the state, forced the evacuation of part of the plant's staff on Friday afternoon.
According to an article on the WCSH 6 website, the ND Paper Mill on Hartford Street in Rumford was struck by lightning (or there was a lightning strike VERY near the plant) at about 2:20 on Friday afternoon. That lightning strike caused a power outage for the plant.
Because chlorine gas was in the process of being made during the power outage, it caused a build up of the gas.
When power was restored to the mill, a fan kicked on and reportedly sent a large green cloud of the gas into the immediate area. As a precaution, a part of the plant was evacuated.
Emergency crews responded just after 3:30 on Friday afternoon.
Fortunately, it appears that no one was injured in the incident.
Big thanks to the first responders that helped with the situation.
For decades, the logging and paper industries were a massive part of the economy of Maine. Sadly, over the last 50-ish years, those industries have slowly died. At this point, according to an article on the Maine Memory Network, only five paper mills remain operating in the state. They are the Sappi Mill in Skowhegan, the Twin Rivers Paper Company in Madawaska, Woodland Pulp in Baileyville, Sappi in Westbrook, and the paper mill in Rumford. The article does make reference to the Verso Mill in Jay, but that has since closed down.