WINSLOW — A fast-moving fire Wednesday afternoon destroyed two attached workshop buildings near an old farmhouse on Abbott Road, but firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to the house itself.

The fire at 627 Abbott Road, reported at 12:47 p.m., drew about 30 firefighters from several towns as well as a Delta Ambulance crew, Winslow police and Central Maine Power Co. workers who cut electricity off to the building.

Elizabeth Dane-Walsh, left, speaks with Waterville Fire Chief Shawn Esler as several fire departments battle a structure fire Wednesday at Dane-Walsh’s residence at 627 Abbott Road in Winslow. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Winslow fire Capt. Waylon Capp said at the scene that officials had not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Winslow fire Chief Ronnie Rodriguez said early Wednesday evening that the Office of State Fire Marshal was notified and would be helping to determine the cause.

“The cause is currently under investigation,” he said.

He said when the first firefighters arrived at the scene, the buildings were fully involved. They worked quickly to confine the blaze to the buildings, he said.

“It’s important to note that the residents were able to occupy the (home) based on those quick actions of those initial arriving units,” Rodriguez said. “I also need to highlight that we rely heavily on our mutual aid partners and this is a perfect example.”

He said two other incidents occurred in Winslow as the buildings were burning and Clinton firefighters handled those. Because the Abbott Road property is in a nonhydrant area, Winslow relied on a tanker task force, he said.

“We had tankers from Winslow, Albion and Vassalboro, and the town of Fairfield provided staff to establish a water supply,” he said, adding that they shuttled water back and forth between the supply and the fire.

“This is a perfect example of how departments within our region cooperate to provide mutual aid,” he said. “This gets to how important it is that surrounding jurisdictions work cooperatively together and it’s a perfect example of, when we need each other, we need each other.”

He said there were no injuries and Delta crews stood by for rehab and to be available if firefighters or residents were to become injured.

The homeowners, Elizabeth Dane-Walsh and John Walsh Jr., were standing on their lawn, watching firefighters work. Dane-Walsh said firefighters and her neighbors were very kind during the ordeal.

“How fortunate the fire didn’t spread,” she said. “I feel very, very blessed.”

Thick smoke could be seen roiling in the sky from miles away. Neighbors on Abbott Road walked to the scene.

Waterville fire Chief Shawn Esler and Fairfield fire Chief Duane Bickford were at the scene, as were firefighters from their towns and from Winslow, Albion, Oakland, Clinton and Vassalboro.

Dane-Walsh said the workshop had been mostly cleaned out, but at the time of the fire, there were items inside, including tools. Her house was built in the 1800s, she said.

She described the workshops as one building, but Rodriguez said they are actually two that are attached. One building was 1,000 square feet in size and the other was about 300 square feet, he said.

A small barn situated between the house and the workshop buildings was not damaged by the fire. The four buildings were fairly close together.

Abbott Road is off Albion Road, which is off Garland Road. The fire was about 8 miles from the Ticonic Bridge, which spans the Kennebec River from Waterville to Winslow. Abbott Road runs from Albion Road to U.S. Route 202.

Officials parked fire trucks on Abbott Road near the fire scene, effectively blocking off the road to traffic as they worked.

 


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