JAY, Maine (AP) — An explosion at a paper mill in Maine shook the ground Wednesday and produced a plume of black smoke that was visible for miles around, but officials said it wasn’t immediately clear whether anyone was injured.
The explosion rocked the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, about 70 miles north of Portland, around noon, state police spokesman Steve McCausland said.
Emergency responders rushed to the mill, and the state fire marshal planned an investigation. The cause of the explosion wasn’t immediately clear, McCausland said.
Gov. Janet Mills urged residents to stay far from the scene, issuing an emailed statements asking residents to “join me in praying for the safety and wellbeing of all those in and around the historic mill.”
The paper mill was sold by Ohio-based Verso Paper in February to a specialty paper producer in Pennsylvania.
Pixelle Specialty Solutions, a privately held company in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, acquired both the Jay mill and another mill in Wisconsin in a $400 million deal. Pixelle said at the time that the deal would make it the largest specialty paper business in the U.S. in terms of annual production.
A spokeswoman from Pixelle didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.
The mill was built in the mid-1960s. Jay is a community of about 5,000 people.