An explosion at a paper mill in southern Maine sent smoke and debris rocketing at least 100 feet into the sky Wednesday afternoon, local media reports.
No injuries were reported in the blast that happened at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay shortly after noon, authorities said. Far fewer workers than usual were inside owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Normally as many as 165 workers are on hand for the afternoon shift, a company spokesperson said.
The company attributed the blast to a rupture in a pressure vessel. The explosion occurred in the mill’s digester where wood chips, water and chemicals are mixed and heated to produce pulp used in the paper making process, the Sun Journal reports.
Two trucks parked near the mill were crushed by falling debris after the blast. Firefighters responding to the scene found a small fire burning on the mill’s roof.