‘Significant’ hazmat incident resolved at Rumford’s ND Paper mill

Rumford fire chief says a power outage led to a plume of chlorine gas inside the mill
Saturday Morning Maine
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 3:13 AM EDT
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RUMFORD, Maine (WMTW) - A “significant” incident involving a chemical buildup at a paper mill in Rumford has been resolved.

Fire Chief Chris Reed said that nobody was hurt after a plume of poisonous chlorine gas was found to have built up inside the mill.

Reed says it began when the mill was struck by lightning Friday morning, leading to a power outage.

At around 2:40 p.m., officials found that during the outage, a mechanism that combines chemicals to produce chlorine had continued to operate. With the power outage preventing the chemicals from mixing safely, a cloud of highly toxic chlorine gas had gathered in the facility.

Officials evacuated the mill immediately and called ND Paper’s hazmat team in to assess the situation. First responders from the Mexico Fire Department and Med-Care were also called to the mill as a precaution.

After ventilating the building and taking meter readings from both inside and outside the facility that determined it was safe, the mill was returned to normal operation.

Chief Reed says there is no danger to the public near the mill.

The Maine DEP and ND Paper’s hazmat team will continue to monitor the conditions inside and in the community.