The cause of the fire at the Winslow Industrial Complex is under investigation

A firefighter instructs crew members Wednesday during a bonfire at the Kennebec River Development Park at 100 Benton Ave. Smoke rises in Winslow. Morning Sentinel file

WINSLOW — The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating after a fire destroyed a warehouse storing recycled paper in the Kennebec River Development Park earlier this week.

The cause of the fire at 100 Benton Ave. is still unexplained because emergency crews have not yet reached the location where it broke out, said Winslow Deputy Fire Chief Michael Murphy.

Murphy said firefighters faced a difficult cleanup process due to the nature of the camp’s contents. Inside the complex, bales of recycled paper weighing thousands of pounds each were stacked on top of each other, along with bins of shredded paper.

“We haven’t dug that corner yet, there’s still a lot of material in there,” Murphy said Friday.

The fire was first reported around 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Crews had it under control by 2:30 p.m., although Murphy said it burned well into the evening. The Office of State Fire Marshal has launched an investigation into the incident.

The warehouse is currently rented by Huhtamaki to store recycled paper. The complex, a former paper mill once owned by Scott Paper Co. and then Kimberly-Clark Corp. is currently owned by Marden’s Surplus & Salvage, who use it primarily for storage and shipping.

The warehouse where the fire started is equipped with a sprinkler system, which reportedly helped bring the fire under control while firefighters worked to gain entry to the building.

Crews returned to the steel warehouse around 8 p.m. Thursday after the fire reignited, Murphy said. They stayed for about an hour before clearing the scene shortly after 9 p.m

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