A fire Sunday at Hancock Lumber Co.’s sawmill on Route 100 in Pittsfield has been ruled accidental, according to state and local authorities.

The fire damaged the roof and rafters of the sawmill, but employees were back at work in the building Monday, Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams said. He estimated repairs to the roof, rafters, boards and metal would be $30,000.

“It started up over the boiler,” Williams said Monday. “Most of the fire was in the boiler room and over the kiln’s control room. We kept it out of the sawmill.”

Sgt. Joel Davis of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Monday that the accidental blaze was caused by sparks emitting from the boiler that caught part of the building on fire.

Both Davis and Williams said there was no significant damage to the boiler.

Williams said the only person who was in the building when the fire broke out was the boiler attendant, and he reported the fire. No one was injured, he said.

Williams said electricians inspected the building Sunday and returned Monday to ensure wiring had not been damaged.

About 40 firefighters from six towns – Pittsfield, Burnham, Detroit, Newport, Hartland and Skowhegan – battled the stubborn fire Sunday in the rafters of the building. The boiler room is on the back corner of the structure.

The fire was reported around 11 a.m. and was not visible from outside the building, according to Williams, who said the structure was insured.

“It was very fortunate everybody worked together well and people are in there working today,” he said. “She’s up and running today.”

He estimated the building to be 250,000 square feet and said it formerly was a contractor’s maintenance building and then housed a chair manufacturing operation. He estimated the wooden structure was built in the late 1940s or early 1950s.

The business was closed Sunday, but several employees went to the entrance gate when they heard about the fire. One woman, who declined to be identified, said a total of 59 people work at the Pittsfield branch of Hancock Lumber.

The largest manufacturer of Eastern white pine, Hancock Lumber operates three sawmills in Maine – in Bethel, Casco and Pittsfield – and distributes its world-class pine boards in Maine, North America and around the globe, according to the company’s website.

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:

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