An estimated 75 firefighters from several communities responded Saturday night to a fire that destroyed a garage workshop building at the Cooper Farms facility on Norris Hill Road in Monmouth. Monmouth Fire Department photo

MONMOUTH —  A fire that drew firefighters from as far away as Augusta and Lewiston destroyed a commercial building Saturday night at an apple orchard.

Ladder trucks were instrumental Saturday night in extinguishing the fire that destroyed a 3,800-square-foot garage and damaged an adjacent commercial packing building in Monmouth, according to Chief Dan Roy of the Monmouth Fire Department. Monmouth Fire Department photo

Chief Dan Roy of the Monmouth Fire Department said when he saw the glow in the sky as he was coming down the hill on Route 135 to respond, he realized it was a sizable fire.

“That’s when I immediately called for additional resources outside our normal mutual aid response, which included a ladder truck from Augusta and a ladder truck from Lewiston, and some additional tanker trucks from some of our mutual aid partners,” Roy said Sunday.

When firefighters first arrived at 155 Norris Hill Road, they found a three-bay workshop — about 3,800 square feet — on fire, with flames showing through the roof.

Not long after firefighters arrived at the Cooper Farms apple packing center, Roy said, the workshop building’s metal roof began to cave in, so efforts to douse the flames were solely from the outside.

The fire had begun moving into a neighboring 38,000-square-foot building, but was knocked down with the help of Winthrop’s ladder truck.


“People don’t realize we have these big structures in Monmouth,” Roy said. “It’s a very large commercial structure.”

He said Augusta’s ladder truck, Tower 1, was instrumental in putting out the fire with a water stream from the ladder fed from a temporary tank that was filled by a relay of tankers bringing in water from a hydrant in the village area.

“We were very fortunate the cement exterior wall of that section of the building aided in preventing the fire from spreading to that (larger) structure,” Roy said.

The fire ignited materials inside the workshop building, where fuels and farm equipment, including tractors, sprayers and tanks of flammable materials, were stored.

Monmouth firefighters return Sunday to extinguish hot spots at the site of a fire that destroyed a building Saturday night at the Cooper Farms packing facility on Norris Hill Road. Chief Dan Roy of the Monmouth Fire Department estimated the loss at nearly $1 million. Monmouth Fire Department photo

“While the firefighters were on scene, we had multiple explosions, (including) a couple real big mushroom clouds of flame and smoke going 50 feet into the sky,” Roy said. “We’re fortunate we didn’t have any windy conditions. Everything was going straight up and going straight back down.”

The fire was under control in less that two hours, but firefighters remained at the scene to extinguish hot spots for more than 90 minutes.


Seventeen firefighters from Monmouth returned to the building Sunday to put out some additional hot spots.

In all, about 75 firefighters responded from Monmouth, Leeds, Greene, Litchfield, Wales, Turner, Winthrop, Augusta and Lewiston responded, along with Winthrop Ambulance and Monmouth police.

No firefighter injuries were reported.

In reviewing security videos from the property, Roy said he determined the fire had been burning for two hours or more before passersby noticed the flames. The property is located at the end of a long driveway and screened by trees.

Roy said the fire’s cause remained under investigation Sunday, and he would be calling the Office of State Fire Marshal.

For property tax purposes, the town of Monmouth values the property, part of Cooper Farms Holdings, at nearly $1.5 million.

Roy estimated the loss at close to $1 million for the building and its contents and damage to the processing facility. The property is insured.

Cooper Farms has a larger operation based in West Paris. A call to the offices was not returned Sunday.

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