BUCKSPORT — Sawdust left over from the former Verso paper mill caught fire Thursday as workers used cutting torches to demolish part of a boiler system, according to Bucksport Assistant Fire Chief Mike Denning.
Denning is acting chief while Chief Craig Bowden is on medical leave.
The former mill property belongs to AIM Development Corp.
AIM is in the process of demolishing buildings and infrastructure on a portion of the mill site, which Whole Oceans intends to purchase for its proposed salmon farm operation.
“Basically workers were using cutting torches in what we call the Tower 3 area and it caught sawdust in the collection system and caught it on fire,” Denning said.
The initial call for help came from a passer-by who saw smoke, Denning said.
One factor complicating the extinguishing of the fire was that “everything was contained in metal containers,” Denning said. The AIM workers had to use equipment to rip open the metal containers for the firefighters.
The department was on scene for as least 90 minutes, the assistant chief said.
The Orland Fire Department stood by for Bucksport, as all hands were on deck at the mill.
To that end, Orrington Ambulance stood by for Bucksport Ambulance because the company’s EMTs are also firefighters.