The cause of a fire early Sunday morning that destroyed the Wells transfer station and several pieces of machinery inside the building is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Sgt. Joel Davis said a team of state investigators traveled to the York County town on Sunday but will need to return Monday to do more work at the facility. He said it is too early to say whether the fire was suspicious.

“There is a lot of damage,” Davis said Sunday night. “The building was destroyed.”

Davis said the fire, which was reported just before 3 a.m., also destroyed several pieces of equipment, including the town’s trash compactor, a front end loader, a dump truck and an office located inside the building. There was also a significant amount of trash in the compactor when the fire broke out, Davis said.

Though it took local firefighters about an hour to bring the three-alarm blaze under control, it burned for several more hours before it was finally extinguished. Firefighters said it took longer than expected because access to the metal building was blocked and officials wanted to make sure firefighters were safe.

“I was there until after the sun came up,” Capt. Jeffrey Cullen of the Wells Fire Department said Sunday night. “There was extensive damage throughout the building.”

The Wells Fire Department was called to the transfer station on Willie Hill Road at 2:58 a.m. About 60 firefighters from Wells and surrounding towns battled the smoky blaze. No one was hurt.

Selectman Bob Foley said the transfer station was heavily used by Wells residents.

“We will rebuild,” he added. “It’s a very important facility.”

Foley said the town uses a pay-per-bag system, which means that residents can drop off household waste as well as recyclables at the facility. Foley said the town will make arrangements to have temporary trash containers set up on the site to handle waste disposal needs.

Despite the destruction of the metal building, Foley said the fire should have little impact on transfer station operations. When the station reopens on Tuesday, the temporary trash drop-off areas will be ready to receive trash, he said.

According to the town’s website, the facility accepts trash and recyclable materials. It is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8 a.m. until 3:55 p.m.

The town was in the process of downsizing its operations at the transfer station due to a drop in the amount of solid waste handled there. Foley said many private haulers have started taking their customers’ trash directly to the ecomaine facility on Blueberry Road in Portland.

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