Columbia Falls fire caused by sunlight

Posted Nov. 10, 2009, at 2:38 p.m.

COLUMBIA FALLS, Maine — A fire that damaged a partially collapsed barn on Centerville Road was caused by accident, investigators have determined.

Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday morning that the blaze was ignited when sunlight refracting off a broken mirror in the barn heated up a pile of leaves and shredded tires. York said the investigation of the fire is complete.

The barn is owned by Karen Worcester, who is a co-owner of Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington. Worcester said Monday that the roof of the barn, which had a floor made from shredded pieces of rubber tire, collapsed last winter from heavy snow. There were no animals in the barn at the time of the fire. She said she hopes to rebuild the barn, which was not insured, in 2010.

Bob Grant, a firefighter with Columbia Falls Volunteer Fire Department, said Monday that the fire produced heavy black smoke and was reported around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

He said about 80 feet of a wall of the barn burned in the blaze. He said it took a handful of firefighters from Columbia Falls and neighboring towns about half an hour Monday morning to extinguish the flames.

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