Vassalboro fire Chief Eric Rowe is urging people to get burning permits before having brush fires and make sure the pile is at least 100 feet from structures.

Rowe made the plea Monday, a day after an unpermitted brush fire at 658 Webber Pond Road in that town sent a spark to a barn about 30 feet away, setting it ablaze and destroying it. The fire spread about 50 feet to a nearby garage attached to a house, he said.

A Maine Forestry Service officer, right, speaks with a man beside a still-smoking brush pile near the barn that was destroyed by fire at a residence on Webber Pond Road in Vassalboro on Sunday. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

“It should be 100 feet or better,” Rowe said of the proximity of a burn pile to a structure. “Have a garden hose there. Get a permit. You want more than one person there. If something happens, you should have at least two people.”

The Maine Forest Service Rangers cited a man in that fire for burning without a permit, according to Rowe, though Rowe did not immediately know the man’s name.

A call was not immediately returned Monday to Kent Nelson in that office, in the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, seeking comment and to identify the man cited.

Rowe said the garage had minor damage and firefighters were able to save it and the attached house, owned by Louise Marinez. He said Marinez was at work when the fire broke out.

About 25 firefighters from Vassalboro, Winslow, China, South China, Weeks Mills and Augusta battled the blaze, reported just before 3 p.m. Sunday.

Rowe said the barn, which was about 40-by-50-feet in size and at least 50 years old, was full of items, including a car and metal barrels.

“It went up fast, and the heat of it melted the siding on the house and caught the back of the garage on fire,” he said.

He said passersby stopped and used a garden hose to help with the fire before firefighters arrived.

Firefighters remained at the scene nearly three hours, and when they left, they responded to another case involving someone burning without a permit, according to Rowe.

“People do it all the time,” he said.


Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]
Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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