A fire that gutted a barn housing a licensed marijuana growing operation Tuesday on Clinton Avenue in Benton appears to have started in the area of a propane heater, according to a state fire official.

Inspectors from the Maine Fuel Board’s propane division are expected to review the scene Friday, Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the state fire marshal’s office, said Thursday.

“We are done with the scene exam; however, we have some more work that we’re going to be doing away from the scene,” Grimes said. “The fire does originate in a garage area — of a heater.” He said inspectors from the propane division will “come up and take a look at that and they’re going to have to do some research on it and get back with us.”

Grimes said sometimes the fire marshal’s office uses other agencies and their expertise when investigating fires and looking at a particular item. Details about the fire’s cause probably will not be available until Friday or possibly the beginning of next week, he said.

He said the building, a massive barn, was being used for a licensed medical marijuana grow operation. “The person who is in control of the building and doing the growing, as we understand it, is a licensed care provider.”

The building in the former Dan’s Used Cars complex at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Sebasticook Bridge Road is owned by Doug Dixon, who bought the property last August. Fairfield Fire Chief Duane Bickford said Jared Jandreau rents the barn from Dixon. Jandreau said Tuesday at the scene that there was a welding shop in the barn.


Dixon has been renovating buildings on the property since buying it.

The approximately 50-by-60-foot, two-story, wood-frame barn was not insured, according to Bickford. Dixon had been working on getting it insured when the fire occurred, he said. Bickford said the heater in the building was a hanging propane-run furnace.

State fire investigator Jeremy Damren inspected the fire scene Wednesday.

About 20 firefighters from Fairfield, Waterville, Winslow, Clinton and Albion worked on the fire Tuesday and Oakland firefighters covered the Fairfield station, Bickford said.

Dixon’s wife, Becky, said Thursday from the couple’s business, Dixon’s Country Market, that firefighters responded quickly to the fire.

“They were there within five minutes and we are very grateful to them,” she said.


Doug Dixon was not immediately available for comment.

Bickford also said a Waterville firefighter suffered minor injuries when he stepped through a rung of the ladder on the Winslow firetruck. The Waterville ladder truck is out of commission for repairs.

David LaFountain, chief of both the Waterville and Winslow fire departments, confirmed that firefighter Mike McKay was the person who was injured.

“It was snowing at the time and the rungs became covered with ice, so when he went to reach over the side with a saw to cut a hole, he slipped,” LaFountain said. “He went through the rungs. He went to the hospital and was released. He was told to just take it easy for a few days. He actually went to the call while he was on vacation.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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