Accidental fire destroys Milford machine shop

Posted Jan. 30, 2011, at 9:04 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 31, 2011, at 12:41 a.m.

MILFORD, Maine — A local man who had been working with a torch in his Bullen Street machine shop Saturday morning was surprised when he saw flames in the shop just after noon, Milford Fire Chief Chris Matson said Sunday.

“He believes a spark from the torch got into some flammable materials, and he didn’t know it,” he said.

Peter Soucie called for help around 12:40 p.m. Saturday. When firefighters arrived, the garage machine shop was burning strongly.

“The fire had a real good head start,” Matson said. “The machine shop was heavily involved in fire, and it was starting to extend to the house. The eaves were starting to burn, and the siding was smoking” on Soucie’s two-story wooden home.

“The first crews there focused on protecting the house,” the fire chief said. “The garage was already a loss.”

Bullen Street is a dead end outside the fire hydrant district, he said.

“We had some issues with water supplies at the beginning,” Matson said. “We called for an engine and manpower from Old Town [Fire Department] immediately, and we requested tankers from Bradley, Alton and Eddington.”

Firefighters saved the home and a back portion of the garage machine shop that housed two large generators and an outside wood boiler.

Soucie, who does not have insurance on his garage or home, “was very happy about that, given the circumstances,” Matson said.

More than 25 firefighters from the area fought the blaze, which was knocked down at around 3 p.m., Matson said, adding no injuries were reported.

“We also requested a foam trailer from the [Maine] Air National Guard fire department” to deal with combustibles stored in the burning building, but “fortunately we didn’t have to use it,” Matson said.

The last crew left the scene of the garage fire just after 6 p.m. Saturday. To ensure no flare-ups occurred a firetruck returned to the scene Sunday.

“They were back there this morning looking for hot spots, and it was completely out,” Matson said.

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