About a dozen chickens escaped Friday night from a chicken barn fire on Main Street in Wilton that apparently started where a heat lamp hung high on a wall, according to Wilton Fire Chief Sonny Dunham.

The fire, reported at 7:58 p.m. at 928 Main St., destroyed the small, makeshift barn built by the owners for the chickens, he said. Those chickens were driven from the barn by smoke from the fire, he said.

“I believe that they went out into a pen from the coop and (the owners) were able to grab them, and they threw them into the house,” Dunham said Saturday. “I think they saved them all.”

About nine Wilton firefighters worked at the scene in subzero temperature and high wind, according to Dunham, who cautioned people to keep heat sources away from combustibles.

“All I can say is, you’ve got to put them as far away as you can and try to keep them off the floor so they can’t get at them,” he said. “You have to make sure they’re away from flammables. That’s what it is. It produces heat, and you’ve got to be careful.”

Dunham said he did not have the name of the chickens’ owners.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day around 1 p.m., Dunham called for mutual aid from area fire departments to help put out a pickup truck fire that was burning on Main Street, about 5 feet away from the Wilton Grange Hall, which is more than 200 years old, according to Dunham.

“It caught fire and it was fully engulfed,” he said of the truck. “The flames were probably not more than 2 feet away from the Grange hall.”

Firefighters from Wilton, Farmington and East Dixfield worked at the scene, he said. He said the pickup truck driver was plowing snow when the truck suddenly started burning. The situation was scary because the truck was so close to the old Grange, but firefighters did a good job extinguishing the fire and saving the building, according to Dunham.

“I came up over the hill and all I could see was black smoke,” he said. “It was fully engulfed.”

There was nothing left of the truck after the fire, he said.

“It was destroyed right down to the frame.”

Dunham was speaking on Saturday morning after having just returned from an annual firefighter training session mandated by the state and held at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. He said firefighters from 12 departments attended.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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