Hannaford reopens after fire

Posted:  Friday, April 26, 2013 - 9:45am

UPDATE: Hannaford spokesman Mike Norton reports that the Boothbay Harbor store will reopen today, April 26, at 2 p.m.

"We've had a lot of people helping with the clean-up," said Norton. "Along with our own occupational safety crew, we've had representatives from the state Department of Agriculture, numerous vendors, staff members, firefighters and a state fire marshal on hand to get the store ready for reopening."

Original post: An early morning electrical fire was put out in moments on April 26, but smoke filled the region’s major supermarket, forcing it to close.

The store may be closed for one to four days, according to Nick Upham, the Boothbay Harbor Fire Chief. That estimate could change as store officials meet and assess damage, a store spokesman said.

Upham said the blaze began in the rear of the store when an exhaust fan in a women’s rest room overheated and burst into flames. The resulting fire migrated upward into the wooden joists, triggering a sprinkler system that contained the fire.

Although firefighters arrived within moments and were able to put out the fire in about `15 minutes, the rear of the building suffered minor fire and water damage.

“We were called out at 5:15 a.m. I was the first firefighter on the scene and could see heavy white smoke inside. We put a team in the building and they were able to contain it,” Upham said.

While the fire turned out to be minor, volunteer firefighters from Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, and Southport were sent to the scene as a precaution. “If it had been a major structure fire, we would have needed all that extra help,” he said.

Local store officials said they were not permitted to talk to a reporter from the Boothbay Register and referred all calls to Hannaford’s corporate media unit.

“Fortunately no one was hurt and we are assessing the situation," said spokesman Mike Norton. “Right now, safety is our first concern."

Upham said the store may be required to be inspected by state officials before they are permitted to reopen. “It could be one to four days. It might be longer if they have to restock the store,” he said.

They will know more about the length of closure around noon, said Norton.