The Waterville Fire-Rescue said the Colby College Physical Plant caught fire early Wednesday morning.

Fire at Colby College Physical Plant

Fire crews responded to 400 Mayflower Hill at 3:29 am Wednesday. Fire officials said there was “smoke pouring from the building” when the first engine arrived. Winslow, Oakland, Fairfield, and Skowhegan Fire Departments were called to assist. 

Wood Chips on Conveyor Belt Caught Fire

A conveyor belt that carries biomass wood chips had caught fire. Waterville Fire-Rescue said there were some issues suppressing the fire because of the heavy smoke and the conveyor spans three levels. 

Officials said, “the fire alarm activation, sprinkler system activation, safety protocols followed by Colby Physical Plant staff, and a calculated fire attack contributed to a quick knockdown which ultimately minimized damage to the facility.”

Fire Considered Accidental

Waterville Fire-Rescue said “The cause of the fire is considered accidental. It is suspected that smoldering wood ash, a byproduct of a biomass plant, ignited wood chips on a conveyor belt which extended to three different floors.” The State Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation. No one was injured in the fire.

Biomass Plant

Colby College’s website said that the biomass plant burns local forest products and is the primary source of energy used to heat buildings and water on the school’s campus.

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