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Smoke at Fort Kent food pantry attributed to faulty light ballast

FORT KENT, Maine — A snowstorm on Sunday did not prevent 16 Fort Kent Fire Department volunteer firefighters from responding to a caller’s report of smoke at the local food pantry.

Someone in the building at 229 West Main Street, which houses the Greater Fort Kent Ecumenical Food Pantry, reported smelling smoke coming from the food pantry at 6:16 p.m.

The firefighters responded to the scene with two engines and the tower ladder truck.

Fire Chief Ed Endee said that a fluorescent light ballast overheated and began smoking, and could have caused a fire had it gone unnoticed. The food pantry was unoccupied on Sunday afternoon. The firefighters disconnected the ballast and removed the device.

The building also houses the businesses China Garden and Tech N Trenz, as well as several rental apartments. In 2012, Fort Kent firefighters saved the building from a fire that destroyed several historic neighboring buildings.

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