UPDATE: Fire damages Gifford’s ice cream plant in Skowhegan

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 10:29 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 11:33 AM EST
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SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) - Fire crews from several towns responded to a fire at the Gifford’s Ice Cream plant in Skowhegan Thursday morning.

The call to the Hathaway Street facility came in around 9:30 a.m.

A company spokesperson says the fire started in a processing room before spreading.

The Morning Sentinel reports the fire was likely started in a walk-in freezer where a heat gun was left on while atop a pallet of combustible material.

She says there were 36 people inside the plant at the time, but nobody was hurt.

Skowhegan Fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez says part of the manufacturing plant and offices sustained significant damage

”The power line was a concern because of the exposure from the flames and the smoke should flames break through the roof, impinging on them and then dropping. That’s high voltage lines and our apparatus is set up right there and that’s going to impact water and electricity don’t mix. So that was the biggest concern and when I saw them coming, it was great,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says the Department of Environmental Protection was also on scene to make sure there was no ammonia leak issue.

He says the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it’s believed to be accidental.