May 22, 2018
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ATVs help fight remote fire in Poland

Douglas McIntire | Sun Journal
Douglas McIntire | Sun Journal
A burnt field of debris surrounds the remains of a trailer on Bragdon Hill Road in Poland. The abandoned home was located about a mile down an unmaintained road, forcing fire crews from eight communities to use pickup trucks and ATVs to fight the fire.
By Douglas McIntire, Sun Journal

POLAND, Maine — A structure fire on a remote dirt road brought the resources of eight departments to Bragdon Hill Road Sunday evening.

According to Poland fire Chief Mark Bosse, a call was first received around 3 p.m. indicating smoke from an unknown origin.

Upon further investigation, firefighters found an abandoned trailer about a mile down the unmaintained road.

Upon arrival, Bosse said the home was fully involved as were some attached and unattached outbuildings.

According to Bosse, the last residents had lived there “quite some time,” relying on generators for power.

Road conditions made it impossible to get trucks to the scene, Bosse said, forcing crews to rely on four-wheel-drive pickup trucks and ATVs for firefighting operations.

Pickups were used to bring up hoses and other gear, Bosse said, as crews found a small pond to draft water from.

“We were three hours into it,” Bosse said, “before we had it under control.” That is when Bosse said some of his crew were diverted from the scene for a medical call.

Bosse said the late notification and remote location made firefighting more difficult.

“It’s not like the neighbor was hanging out laundry and saw smoke,” he said.

Due to the large quantities of fuel cans, rubber materials and a generator, Bosse said crews spent a long time looking for hot spots and extinguishing them with foam.

Bosse said that although many might dread more rain, he hoped the rain approaching Sunday evening would further douse what had been an intense fire.

In all Bosse said crews spent five hours on scene before dousing the whole site with foam to prevent flare-ups. Due to the high humidity, Bosse said dehydration was an issue, and a couple of crew members were treated at the scene.

“The big thing is, we have to rely heavily on our mutual aid,” Bosse said, adding that operations such as this are labor intensive, calling on the need to move more four-wheelers and pickup trucks into the scene.

Crews responded from Mechanic Falls, New Gloucester, Gray, Oxford, Auburn, Minot and Casco.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Bosse said he would work with the fire marshal on an investigation Monday.

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