Hampden waste processing plant back open after propane tank causes fire

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 6:55 PM EST
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Coastal Resources of Maine here off the Coldbrook Road in Hampden is back open after a small fire.

"The facility experienced a fire that was caused by a propane canister that went through the line and made contact with a piece of production equipment and exploded," said Shelby Wright, Director of Community Services.

Wright said two employees were hurt when the tank exploded, and one of them was taken to the hospital. Both are okay and are back to work, but this could have been prevented if the propane tank hadn't been tossed in the trash to begin with.

"We are at the mercy of the residents that dispose of their waste with us, and we really ask that people think before they throw because lives may depend on it."

When gas is left in the tank, a fire or explosion can happen anywhere at anytime during the disposal.

"It could have occurred at the transfer station, in the sanitation truck, or at any point on our line. So, we just want to remind everyone that sanitation workers and folks have the right to go home safe every night to their families."

So, some tips when it comes to potentially hazardous items like propane tanks.

Never open a tank to let the rest of the gas leak out because it's highly flammable.

Never throw them away -- this includes camp stove canisters.

Wright suggests doing some homework when you have any questionable items.

"Make a phone call and reach out and see what you have for options."

Many places that sell propane tanks will take them back or even trade old ones for new ones. If not, call your town office to find out the best place.

"We're just really glad that this incident wasn't worse than it was, and that the workers are safe and they're back at work and that we were able to resume operations so quickly."

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