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More than 5 months after explosion, Jay mill announces 51 more layoffs

59 mill employees also lost their jobs on June 13.

JAY, Maine — Pixelle Specialty Solutions, which owns the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, announced 51 more layoffs Thursday.

The mill announced July 9 that it would reduce its number of employees over time. According to the mill, operating competitively in its new configuration requires it to reorganize its staffing model. The first reduction happened on July 13 and affected 59 employees.

The layoffs are part of the mill's long-term plan, following the April 15 pulp mill digester rupture that stopped its pulp manufacturing operation and caused a massive explosion.

Remarkably, nobody was injured during the explosion. At the time of the explosion, Pixelle Human Resources Manager Roxie Lassetter estimated there were around 165 to 175 employees working.

"No one was in the immediate vicinity, which was certainly helpful," Lasseter said.

“As we stated previously, the reductions are an unfortunate consequence of a circumstance no one expected, wanted, or caused. Everyone affected has been a valued member of our team," Mill Manager Jay Thiessen said of the layoffs. "We will provide those affected by the reduction support in the form of compensation, benefits, and job placement assistance.”

RELATED: Androscoggin Mill in Jay restarts 2 paper machines a week after explosion

According to Thiessen, the mill continues operating safely and utilizing its two operating paper machines to produce specialty products to meet the needs of its customers.

The mill continues its remediation of the rupture site, to determine the root cause of the rupture and develop a long-term plan.

RELATED: No injuries following massive explosion at mill in Jay, Maine

 “As we stated previously, this is a time-intensive process. We expect it to continue until at least the fourth quarter of 2020. We need to develop and execute the long-term plan correctly to help ensure long-term success,” Thiessen said.