June 20, 2018
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Fire consumes Richmond garage filled with ammo, gunpowder, gasoline containers

By Darcie Moore, Times Record

RICHMOND, Maine — A fire destroyed a Rokell Farm Road garage containing ammunition late Tuesday.

Firefighters were called to 81 Rokell Farm Road at 11:31 p.m., and found the garage in flames.

Mike Lorbeski, owner of a plumbing-and-heating company and the homeowner, said he had all of his equipment stored in the building, which was built 14 years ago.

“We had everything in there,” he said.

The home was not damaged and he has insurance on the lost building, Lorbeski said.

He said he was worried about firefighters getting too close because of the quantity of ammunition, gunpowder and containers of gasoline stored on an upstairs floor.

A truck in the garage was destroyed in the fire, too.

“It’s just stuff,” Lorbeski said.

Lorbeski said his wife reported the fire.

“When they woke me up, they said there were flames out in the shop,” he said. “It was too late. It was coming out of the roof.”

With three of his four children at home, there was a concern it could spread, so he said he focused on evacuating his family.

Richmond Fire Chief Matt Roberge said he could hear a series of small explosions at the scene.

He estimated it took fire crews from 30 to 40 minutes to knock down the fire.

At 1:30 a.m., an excavator had arrived on scene to move a downed wall so firefighters could ensure the fire was extinguished.

Bowdoinham, Bowdoin and Litchfield fire departments responded to the scene. North East Mobile Health Services had an ambulance on scene as well.

Roberge said early this morning a cause hadn’t been determined and the extent of damage may be prohibitive to pinpoint it.

The fire is not considered suspicious and an investigator from the state fire marshal’s office was expected to be on scene to help determine the cause.

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