Local departments respond to fire at Jackson Lab



BAR HARBOR — Shortly after 9:12 p.m. on Tuesday, the Bar Harbor Fire Department arrived at The Jackson Laboratory to investigate a fire alarm call coming from the laboratory.

Bar Harbor Fire Department Chief Matthew Bartlett said on Wednesday that the department responded as they normally do for a fire alarm call but soon realized there was an actual fire. “As our crew entered the building, they found the fire burning in the location. Our crew radioed back saying they had found fire in the building with sprinkler flow,” which, said Bartlett, prompted a call for additional resources.

That call brought the Mount Desert Fire Department, Southwest Harbor Fire Department, Ellsworth Fire Department and Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service to the scene. Bartlett said the Trenton Fire Department and responders from the Somesville Fire Station provided standby coverage.

“Mutual aid departments were not needed, so they were quickly released,” he said.

Though many departments were called, only about five or six responders entered the building.

“Our crew had to go in and put out the fire that the sprinkler system couldn’t fully extinguish,” said Bartlett, adding that it was primarily the contents of a shelving unit that caught on fire.

Around 10:30 p.m., the flames were doused and the departments cleared the scene.

All the research mice and employees were found to be safe.

The lab’s Executive Vice President and COO Catherine “Katy” Longley said that the lab community is grateful to the local fire departments and emergency personnel for their swift response. “We are thankful that all employees are safe,” she said.

On behalf of the fire department, Chief Bartlett said he was also appreciative of what the lab’s crew did Tuesday night to help the emergency personnel. “It was a team effort between The Jackson Lab and ourselves. Their staff did a great job in helping us get to where we needed to be,” said Bartlett.

“We got a fire alarm, the sprinkler system activated, we went down to investigate, found a little fire burning and luckily we were able to get in there and put the remaining fire out. The system worked as it was just designed to do.”

Ninah Gile

Ninah Gile

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Gile, an MDI native, covers the town of Bar Harbor. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.

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