BENTON — Firefighters from several communities battled a blaze Tuesday at a massive barn used as a welding shop in the former Dan’s Used Cars complex at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Sebasticook Bridge Road.

The fire gutted the building and destroyed equipment inside.

Flames were shooting out of the large brown building when firefighters arrived just after 1 p.m. Fairfield fire Chief Duane Bickford said the state fire marshal’s office will go to the scene Wednesday to help determine the cause of the fire.

“The interior is gutted,” Bickford said. “It’s hard to gain access into the building — very limited access. The only access is from the front.”

The approximate 50-by-60-foot, two-story wood-frame barn with two large doors in the front is in the middle of the complex of buildings at 9 Sebasticook Bridge Road. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to just that barn.

The complex is owned by Doug Dixon, who bought it from the bank last August and has been renovating buildings there. The barn is rented to someone who was using it as a welding shop.

Dixon stood outside the former Dan’s Used Cars two-story office building nearby with several other people, watching firefighters spray water on the tall building as flames shot out of it and brown smoke rolled into the air.

Dixon said that when the fire broke out, he had been upstairs in the former office building, renovating an apartment he plans to rent out next week.

George and Samantha Fernald, who rent a house from Dixon on the property, said they had just left their home to go to town to run errands when they saw smoke coming from the barn, about 100 feet away from their house.

“I saw smoke coming through the outer panels — coming through the seams of the walls, so we went and got Doug up in the apartment and called 911,” said George Fernald, who was standing with the couple’s 7-year-old Walker Bluetick Coonhound, Copper.

At a nearby house, Luke Schaedle said he had just come outside when he saw smoke and realized the barn was on fire.

“I heard some pops and bangs and the smoke didn’t stop so I called 911,” he said.

Andy Lynnell, who also lives in the house, hooked up the garden hose and sprayed the house as a precaution.

Schaedle said it was the second time he had seen fire at the complex. In 1999, a garage was destroyed by fire.

According to a story in the Morning Sentinel archives, fire officials at the time said the fire destroyed many engines and transmissions in the garage and caused more than $100,000 in damage.

About 20 firefighters from Fairfield, Waterville, Winslow, Clinton and Albion worked at the scene Tuesday as a wet snow fell. Oakland firefighters covered the Fairfield fire station, according to Bickford. Delta Ambulance also was at the scene.

Bickford said no one was injured. He said that when firefighters arrived, a man whose name he did not know pitched in to help.

“Thank you to the citizen who helped us lay supply line to the fire hydrant,” he said.

Officers from the Winslow Police Department and Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office were also on the scene, helping to direct traffic. Clinton Avenue, which is Route 100, was blocked off as firefighters worked to put out the fire. They extinguished the blaze and left the scene at 3:21 p.m.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17