June 18, 2018
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Fire destroys Monhegan Boat Co. workshop

By Walter Griffin

PORT CLYDE, Maine — A Christmas morning fire destroyed a metal building used by the Monhegan Boat Co. for storage and as a workshop.

Firefighters from four communities were called in to extinguish the blaze, which was reported at 5:50 a.m., St. George Fire Chief Tim Polky said at the scene of Thursday’s fire. One firefighter, Steve Jarrett, was hospitalized for overexertion, Polky said.

He said the fire was reported by Knox County Deputy Sheriff Paul Pinkham, who noticed the flames while on routine patrol. Neighbors also reported hearing a series of explosions as articles within the building caught fire, he said.

The building was on Factory Road, a short distance from the Monhegan Boat dock. Firefighters spent their initial efforts ensuring that the fire did not spread to nearby residences. As it was, the vinyl siding on one home melted from the heat.

“We didn’t try to put the fire out. We wanted to make sure we stopped its exposure to nearby residences,” Polky said.

He said the fire was contained in the metal building “like a Thermos bottle.” The building had overhead garage doors at either end and another entrance on the second floor. A forklift, backhoe, machinery, tools and boat repair equipment were lost in the blaze.

The Monhegan Boat Co. operates the private ferry service to Monhegan Island.

“They [Monhegan Boat] leased the building and used it as their workshop,” Polky said. “They lost a lot of specialty tools.”

Fire units from St. George, Thomaston, South Thomaston and Owls Head responded to the alarm and the Rockland Fire Department was on standby for those communities while their departments were fighting the fire, he said. The fire was extinguished in 1½ hours, and an excavator was used to clean up the rubble afterward. Polky did not know whether the building or its contents were insured.

“It’s a tough blow to them,” he said. “You feel bad anytime, but the way the economy is going, it makes things feel even worse.”

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