Several mills in Maine have seen recent turmoil.
Fulghum Fibres in Baileyville included.
“This chip mill was built in 1997. It was built to provide chips for Woodlawn Pulp, which is the customer on the other side of the fence. We do about a million tons a year of chips,” said Chief Operations Officer, Kurt Malzer.
Fulghum Fibres has 36 operating around the world.
They have a team of 38 here.
On March 10th, Malzer says they were grinding in the maintenance area when sparks hit the floor.
“Went under a very small gap in the insulation in the floor and started to burn the insulation and dust material behind it,” said Malzer.
They say they put it out, and later found that it had spread to another part of the building. Malzer says within an hour the whole building was on fire.
“You were happy that nobody got hurt, that was the main thing, and I knew this company, that there would be the support to what we were doing again,” said Mark Seavey, mill manager.
Management says within three days thanks to the crew’s ingenuity and creativity they had operations up to nearly 50%.
“We decided immediately that we were not going to be laying anybody off, we were going to keep the whole crew. We have them in a combination of either operating mobile equipment or helping us pull the mill down and work with contractors to rebuild it,” said Malzer.
“It’s been quite hectic, but everybody joined together and it’s like one big family,” said Gary Bell, the first mill manager and current consultant.
Malzer says although many of the employees are doing building things, and doing jobs they never have before it’s been their resilience, and strength that has led them to overcome and help rebuild.
“Said, ‘Hey. guys. we’re staying the course,you’re on the books, we can make this, we’re going to fix this, and were going to move on,’ and you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief, and we’ve just put our shoulder to the wheel since then,” said Malzer.