JEFFERSON — Boats, golf carts and an antique motorcycle were destroyed Sunday by a fire that swept through a Valley Road storage shed.

Jefferson Fire Chief Walter Morris said fire at 2 Valley Road, near the Washington Road intersection, destroyed the two-story building, which Morris said was about 40 feet wide and 120 feet long.

Richard Hartel, whose home is on the same lot, has insurance on the building, Morris said.

There were no injuries reported in the fire, which was called in shortly after 7:30 p.m. Morris said one firefighter was taken to the hospital as a precaution when he began showing signs of an asthma attack. The man was checked at the hospital and released, Morris said.

“The building was pretty much a total loss along with all the things inside it,” Morris said.

Those items included at least four vehicles, nine boat motors, three boats and personal water craft and an antique motorcycle, Morris said. There also were a number of household appliances, including washing machines, and golf carts.

Hartel, his wife, Meredyth, and his relatives owned all the property stored there.

“There was quite a bit of equipment stored in it,” Morris said. “Hopefully most people make out OK insurance-wise.”

An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was unable to determine what caused the fire because of the extensive damage. Morris said the fire will be listed as an accidental blaze of unknown origin. Hartel put a boat in the barn Sunday afternoon without disconnecting the battery. The fire started near the front of the building, where Hartel had his workshop with a computer and battery chargers.

“It could have been the computer, the boat, a battery charger,” Morris said. “There’s nothing suspicious about it.”

The building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. They turned their attention to saving a nearly identical building next to the burning barn and a home across the street. Heat melted the vinyl on the second building, but the fire was confined to the original barn, Morris said.

“The guys did a good job,” he said.

Firefighters from Whitefield, Somerville, Washington, Waldoboro and Nobleboro joined Jefferson crews in fighting the blaze. Windsor firefighters went to Jefferson’s fire station to be ready to respond to any other emergencies.

Firefighters spent several hours fighting the fire, remaining on scene until about midnight.

Morris said a power line that served the building came down when the fire broke out. A crew from Central Maine Power arrived about a half- hour later to remove the live line.

“That sort of limited where we could position our trucks,’ Morris said. “It was a little bit of a challenge.”

Morris estimated crews pumped at least 200,000 gallons of water onto the flames and nearby buildings. Usually water is delivered by tanker trucks that shuttle loads between a water source, such as a lake or stream, to the fire. In this case, however, there was a nearby mill pond with a dry hydrant that allowed an uninterrupted water supply, Morris said.

“It helped out tremendously,” he said.  

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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