CAMBRIDGE — A fire on Main Street on Sunday destroyed Bunker’s Garage, a beloved landmark where people in town would always gather, the local fire chief said.

“It’s a historical landmark,” said Cambridge Fire Chief Rob Folsom. “All the local townspeople have hung out here for years.”

Folsom said he could remember stopping by the garage himself when he was 3 or 4 years old, and he wouldn’t be surprised if the building was a century old.

The volunteer fire department was called in around 9:15 a.m. after Greg Davis, who was leasing the building, saw smoke pouring out of the garage from the Cambridge General Store directly across the street, Folsom said.

According to Folsom, people working in the garage had been welding a gas tank on a truck and were letting the welding cool down. When Davis came back to the garage, he saw that one of the tires on the truck was on fire and tried to extinguish it himself, but the building got so smoky he had to leave.

“Upon arrival, the building was just fully engulfed in smoke,” Folsom said. It’s believed something caught on fire in the time between the welding and when Davis saw the smoke.

The fire eventually reached the ceiling, which had a crawl space a few feet deep packed with quilted lining from jackets, Folsom said. The firefighters realized they couldn’t control the fire offensively and needed to start working defensively to get it under control, so they brought an excavator in to start taking the building apart.

Harmony and Guilford Fire Departments also responded to the call. Firefighters were still working around 1 p.m., and Folsom said they would probably be there another couple hours.

There were two pick-up trucks and six antique snowmobiles in the garage at the time of the fire. It was a “total loss,” Folsom said.

The garage was a third-generation, family-owned business. Mark Bunker and his family are the current owners, and Greg Davis was leasing the building.

A group of people, including Davis, were gathered at the Cambridge General Store a little after noon, watching as firefighters continued to spray the smoky remnants of the building and the excavator continued to take pieces apart.

Both Bunker and Davis said they did not wish to comment at this time.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

 

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