PUTNEY >> Southwest N.H. District Fire Mutual Aid received a 911 call at 3:09 a.m. Tuesday reporting an unknown type fire within the Lower Mill building of the Soundview Paper complex, located at 8 Water Street.

The Putney Fire Department was dispatched on a first alarm assignment, along with automatic aid companies from Dummerston, Brattleboro, Westminster, and an ambulance from Rescue Inc. Putney units arrived at 03:18 a.m. and employees advised of a fire within the primary paper processing machine within the Lower Mill.

According to a press release, "Immediate investigation proved a working fire within Machine 3, with extension of the fire involving other portions of the machine area, the hood enclosure above the machine, associated machine duct work, and the roof deck area." At 03:21 a.m. a second alarm was struck.

Hose lines were advanced to the interior of the building and to the roof. Due to specific operational requirements of Machine 3, numerous dry chemical fire extinguishers were deployed in order to initially confine the fire; water streams were deployed to the areas surrounding the machine and the roof deck in order to extinguish active paper dust fires, prevent additional dust fires from igniting, and the potential for a dust explosion.

Additional alarm upgrades were dispatched in order to bring more companies and personnel to the scene.

The fire was declared under control at 04:54 a.m. when the fire was contained to the area of Machine 3. There was no structural damage, and facility employees immediately began to prepare the machinery and its components for re-start.


Due to circumstances presented, fire investigators from the Vermont State Police and Vermont Division of Fire Safety were called to the scene in order to investigate the fire's cause and origin. The investigation confirmed the fire was not suspicious.

At 11:19 a.m., all companies cleared the scene and the property was turned over to management personnel from Soundview Paper.

The Putney Fire Department received assistance from departments in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Westminster, Bellows Falls, Saxtons River and Guilford, and Chesterfield, Spofford, Keene, Swanzey, Walpole, North Walpole and Hinsdale, N.H. Rescue Inc. also assisted at the scene. Command support services were provided on scene by Southwest N.H. Fire Mutual Aid.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275