DuPont’s Rockland heating system overheats, prompts visit from firefighters
ROCKLAND — Fire engines from Rockland and all of its mutual aid arrived upon 11 Lime Street in Rockland on Tuesday after officials at DuPont Nutrition USA reported smoke inside one of its warehouses.
According to Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock, the company’s heating system, which was being worked on, overheated. The extra heat caused the system’s insulation, along with dust buildup, ignited, sending smoke into the buildings.
At about 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30, responders entered the secure facility, formerly known as FMC.
At that point, workers were evacuating buildings 12 and 13, and firefighters learned that the smoke was inside two buildings instead of one.
Lt. Patrick Lowe and his first due companies made entry into the buildings and confirmed the smoke.
“The large footprint of both buildings was a factor that leads to the need for additional personnel, Whytock said in his report. “Searching for the cause of smoke or fire within these buildings can be taxing to both personnel and equipment.”
Due to the size of both buildings, a second alarm was struck for manpower, according to Whytock.
“There were at least half a dozen thermal imaging cameras going around,” Whytock said, while responders searched for the cause of the smoke and odor.
Rockland has four thermal imaging cameras. Camden and Rockport each carry one, he said.
Firefighters also searched the roof, using Thomaston’s ladder truck, since roofing work had been going on at the time.
“At the peak of the investigation there were roughly 16 personnel in the two buildings and another four firefighters on the roof looking for the cause of the smoke,” he said in his report.
No injuries were reported.
Mutual aid from Camden, Rockport, Thomaston, and South Thomaston returned to quarters around 10 a.m.
North East Ambulance provided station coverage for EMS calls.
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