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Rockland chief credits mutual aid with dousing DuPont fire

By Stephen Betts | Jan 03, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts Firefighters converge at the gate to the DuPont manufacturing plant on Lime Street in Rockland.

Rockland — Fire crews from around the region were working to put out a fire inside a building at the DuPont plant in Rockland.

The call came in 4:46 p.m. Jan. 3, about a small fire on the second floor of one of the buildings on the industrial waterfront complex off Lime Street. Product at the manufacturing plant was on fire, and the workers were unable to control the fire and called for assistance.

The workers were unable to extinguish the fire due to the fume conditions from the burning product.

The first Rockland crew to arrive on scene was limited to two firefighters due to other emergencies happening at the same time.

Crews from Rockland, Camden, Rockport, Thomaston and South Thomaston arrived with more than a dozen firefighters joining the initial crews. More than 30 firefighters arrived. The additional crews were needed because of the high hazard that exists within the facility, Fire Chief Christopher Whytock said Jan. 3.

The fire was burning within the processing area and was able to be contained to the building or origin, the chief said. Firefighters used approximately 500 gallons of water to extinguish the fire with no extension of damage past the point of origin.

The cause of the fire was that the product at the plant became overheated.

At 5:46 p.m., Rockland announced the fire was "knocked down," and cleaning up was underway.

The chief said early notification of the fire helped minimize the damage within the building, as well as evacuating the employees safely.

He said the assistance within the mutual aid system is always beneficial. He said having enough first responders on hand is key to a successful outcome. Northeast Ambulance also responded.

DowDuPont purchased the Rockland plant in November 2017 from FMC Corporation.

DuPont and International Flavors and Fragrances announced in December 2019 that the two companies reached an agreement to the merger of IFF and DuPont's Nutrition and Biosciences business. The merger is expected to be completed during the first three months of 2021.

The DuPont plant produces carrageenan, a food additive that is used for thickening, gelling and stabilizing products such as ice cream, salad dressing and toothpaste.

DuPont employs about 110 workers in its Rockland plant and is the largest property taxpayer for the city.

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Comments (8)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jan 06, 2021 15:08

Dale.. If I felt threatened by many things I wouldn't post on here. I have my own opinions and they are not based on what you might think of me. And I might add that my name is spelled Francis nor Frances, which is the remind spelling. You want to make yourself feel better taking a shot at my posting at least be smart enough to get my name right.



Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 06, 2021 12:41

Frances, in due respect, you feel threatened most of the time by something, you think?

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Jan 04, 2021 23:12

I agree Bill. DuPont earned their money honestly. No comparison.

Posted by: Bill Packard | Jan 04, 2021 18:48

How anyone can connect a fire at DuPont in Rockland, Maine to Donald Trump is beyond my comprehension.

Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 04, 2021 15:08

Unfortunately I have been thinking further about this situation. We the current folks iin Rocklandia inherited this business from an era that perhaps it was a significant employer, taxpayer, user of local services and supplies, much like today.  Over the last 40 years I have lived here very significant changes have occurred in all those areas. Many employers were driven out for numerous reasons, not all their own. Many other businesses that supplied services and supplies have also been driven out, for various reasons, good and I suppose bad. Now with the flood of the another generation of owners and the influx of big box we have yet another whole new perspective. I do not think, for a second, that the Dupont company came here to threaten our health, or burn us down. We are in a time period where each of us has an opinion about what we hear, see, what we react to. The bottom line is: we need to hang onto what we have got,period.

Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jan 04, 2021 11:07

If we didn't have FMC the complaint would be about even higher taxes.  South Thomaston responded with nine firefighters. Nice response for a small rural department. Thinking about the Presidential situation in this country and I am thankful these emergency responders don't care which party you belong to as they are there to help. I feel more threatened by Donald Trump and his supporters then FMC exploding.

Posted by: DALE HAYWARD | Jan 04, 2021 11:04

Stephen Carroll: please< we have the top fire and ems in the world. Trying to go back in history to find fault with the placement of that plant seems impossible. What is done is done and we do, I repeat, have the best to deal with it. Chris is spot on and I personally thank him for all he does.

Posted by: Chris Whytock | Jan 04, 2021 10:47

Steve, the most important part of the story is that emergency services responded and mitigated the situation. 30 years ago the safety requirements and procedures were much less then they are today. 5 departments responded due to our alarm system and the potential for further problems. We always call for additional help early and return them if they aren’t needed. DuPont has a unique set of hazards, much like any other manufacturing company, which could also need the same amount of first responders.

“The City turning a blind eye” is completely false.

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