Emergency crews from across Eastern Maine spent most of Tuesday evening and overnight into Wednesday morning on the scene of a HAZMAT situation in Millinocket dealing with what they initially thought was an ammonia leak.
The HAZMAT team out of Orono, which serves as the primary HAZMAT Team for all of Penobscot County and a State Regional Response Team, was on hand, along with a number of other agencies were called to the area of Colony Place, a residential area in Millinocket.
According to Fire Chief Jeff Lowe, emergency personnel worked quickly to evacuate 5 homes surrounding the area in question, as crews worked to determine the cause of the suspected leak.
"We went up around 5:30 last night to assist Millinocket with what they thought was an ammonia leak."
Chief Lowe said last aside from the HAZMAT team, members of the Millinocket Fire and Police Departments, Lincoln Fire Department, the Maine DEP, and the Maine State Police and Maine State Police Bomb Squad units were on hand to assist, along with folks from the Penobscot Couty and Maine Emergency Management Agencies.
The Bangor Fire Department provided a specialty truck for crews to use as a command center.
Lowe said they also had help from a special unit of the Maine National Guard.
"We had the Army National Guard Civil Support Team, they are a chemical response group that we sometimes pull to assist us with difficult or complex cases."
Lowe says officials have ruled out drain cleaners, the space being used as an illicit drug lab, or an explosive manufacturing site.
And while the official cause has yet to be given, Lowe says crews were able to figure out what the issue was around 3 AM Wednesday, and residents were allowed back into their homes.
"Some crews remain on scene as additional work will need to be completed today. Most of the large response of assets have now cleared the scene.