A wind-driven fire Saturday destroyed a large chicken barn off South Beech Hill Road in Pittston, but fire crews kept the fire from spreading to nearby homes.

Fire Chief Jason Farris said nobody was hurt in the fire, but the barn at 5 Fly Way, a driveway off South Beech Hill Road, was leveled. The fire spread to the woods and burned about an acre before firefighters extinguished it.

The fire occurred during a red-flag period posted by the National Weather Service, which means the combination of strong wind and dryness made the risk of brush and woods fire high.

“They were able to stop it just as it was going into the woods,” Farris said.

An investigator from the Office of the State Fire Marshal was at the scene Saturday afternoon, trying to determine what had sparked the blaze.

The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Firefighters arrived within two minutes, but flames already were coming through the roof of the barn, which Farris said was about 200 feet long, 50 feet wide and three stories tall.

The barn, which is privately owned and had collapsed partially before the fire, stood near a farmhouse on the same property with a field and a large pine forest behind it. The Eastern River flows on one side of the barn, and on the other side is a village congested with homes. With about 40 percent of the building already engulfed in flames, Farris said crews focused their attention on preventing the flames from spreading outside the barn. About half of the first firefighters went to Hunts Meadow Road to make sure flames did not spread, Farris said.

“Right from the get-go it was all about protecting exposures,” he said.

Forest rangers and firefighters from at least a dozen communities in Kennebec and Lincoln counties responded to the blaze. It took about two hours to control the fire, Farris said. He said the building produced a tremendous amount of smoke and fire.

Crews had a ready supply of water from a dry hydrant that uses the Eastern River as a water source.

“We were able to draw water out of there very quickly,” Farris said. “It’s a one-minute run from there to the fire.”

Crews were still at the scene Saturday afternoon, working with an excavator to move debris to be able to douse the remaining hot spots.

Farris said miscellaneous items were stored in a portion of the barn. He was unsure of their value.

The property owner said the building was used to store old vehicles and boats, according to WCSH-TV. The owner told the television station that he burned part of the building Friday and slept overnight in a tent to make sure the fire didn’t spread, but it did just that on Saturday.

The chicken barn was the second destroyed by fire this month in central Maine. An enormous fire on May 5 caused numerous explosions as it leveled a barn being used by Sabattus-based AD Electric for storage. One employee suffered serious burns in that fire, which reportedly caused up to $1 million worth of damage. That fire started when hot metal from a welder fell onto hydraulic fluid pumped from a broken hose on a boom truck.

Farris said Saturday’s fire could have caused much more damage if not for the solid work by firefighters.

“With a red-flag day, and the wind like it is, they did an outstanding job to contain it,” Farris said of the firefighters. “They did a heck of a job.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4