On Feb. 24, a fire erupted in a local Waterville gas station on Kennedy Memorial Drive.
At around 5 am, the Dead River Shell station burst into flames, resulting in an immediate response from Waterville and Oakland Fire and Rescue teams. One of the pumps at the filling station was burning upon their arrival. The fire was later discovered to be caused by a larger fire in the station’s 1,250-gallon propane tank.
“The fire could be seen for miles,” Waterville Fire and Rescue reported on their Facebook page.
In response to the blaze, five units worked on keeping the propane tank cool using special wide-diameter hoses. Their main goal was to allow the propane to safely burn off, preventing gas from accumulating, which could potentially lead to an explosion. Gas station personnel helped firefighters by shutting off the propane supply to the tank. The response team worked for over an hour to ensure the threat was neutralized.
“At the conclusion of the incident, it was determined that a tractor used for plowing struck a fill hose. The fuel fill hose was pulled from the pump station subsequently causing a propane leak from a propane supply line. It was presumed that damaged electrical wires ignited the leaking propane,” Waterville Fire and Rescue explained, later concluding that the fire was an accident.
The Shell station is located close to the Southbound on-ramp at I-95’s exit 127. During the fire, Waterville and Oakland police officers joined the scene to temporarily shut down Kennedy Memorial Drive to ensure the public’s safety. Luckily, the fire caused no injuries.
In the following days, Waterville Fire and Recscue’s efforts were met with an incredible amount of support and gratitude from the community. As of Feb. 27, the post had 438 reactions and 75 comments.
“Amazing work from everyone involved! This could have been disastrous. Thank you to all the first responders keeping this under control,” wrote one commenter. Today, the gas station is fully operational with little damage left from the fire.
~ Adrian Visscher ’24