WATERVILLE — An early morning fire at the Huhtamaki factory resulted in an evacuation and partial road closure Monday morning.

No one was injured in the fire.

Waterville Fire Department Capt. Shawn Esler said they received the call around 7:30 a.m. on Monday for a large fire at the mill on College Avenue, where they responded with the assistance of the Fairfield Fire Department. Upon arrival, he said they discovered a large fire on the dryers requiring firefighters to deploy on the mill’s roof. Esler said two ladder trucks were committed to reach the roof line, and a crew of about 20 firefighters responded.

“The fire was contained to that area,” Esler said. “We had a very, very quick knockdown.”

The cause of the fire is unknown, Esler said. Crews were at the mill for about four hours, and Esler said most of that time was spent ensuring there was no extension of the fire to other portions of the mill.

Esler said several Huhtamaki employees were in the building at the time of the fire and were evacuated. A portion of College Avenue was shut down to allow the ladder trucks enough room to get firefighters onto the roof of the building. Esler said the Waterville Police Department assisted by directing traffic.


Two papermaking machines were damaged by the fire, and Esler estimated the machines would be repaired by the end of the day Monday. The employees were back in the building before noon.

The fire department responds to a number of calls annually to Huhtamaki, but Esler said this one was a little larger than most they respond to because it involved firefighters going onto the roof. However, outside of the damage to the papermakers, Esler said there was no structural damage and no injuries to either employees or firefighters. He said the building’s sprinkler system activated, which also “significantly reduced the fire load.”

Esler commended everyone’s knowledge of the mill and safety precautions, saying the firefighters did a good job quickly responding to the fire.

“The guys did a great job,” Esler said. “I can’t say enough about them.”

Representatives from Huhtamaki were not available Monday for comment.

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