POLAND, Maine — A late-afternoon Wednesday fire destroyed a boat on Route 122, burning an open-air garage and a motorcycle before fire crews brought the flames under control.
The garage at 419 Spring Water Road went up in flames at about 4:30 p.m. Poland firefighters arrived and called for help from departments in nearby towns.
Nel and Annette Roy were driving back from a relative’s house when they spotted a thick cloud of dark smoke off in the distance.
As they got closer, the cloud became thicker. The pair stopped at the side of the road where they spotted a man outside getting his mail.
“I said, ‘Is that your house? Look behind you,’” Nel Roy said.
As it turned out, the man was a neighbor who had been unaware that something was burning. He and the Roys made their way through a clump of trees, believing a house that sits back from the road had gone up in flames.
“When we made our way up through the woods, we could see the blaze,” Nel Roy said. “It was really cranking. As we got closer, we could see that the house was alright, but a boat was on fire.”
The boat, which appeared to be a 24-foot cutter, was completely engulfed in flames, he said. His first concern, however, was for anyone who might be inside the house.
“We went over there and banged on the door, but nobody was home,” he said.
There was a hose attached to the house and initially, Roy thought he could use it to knock down the flames.
“I grabbed the hose, but it was only 25 feet long and the fire was 75 feet away,” he said. “I couldn’t reach it.”
Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter. Poland was joined by crews from Oxford, Auburn and Gray-New Gloucester. As they attacked the flames, Roy said, the area was rattled by pair of explosions.
“There were some 5-gallon gas tanks up there,” he said. “They just went ka-boom!”
Firefighters made quick work of the blaze, but the boat was destroyed, as was the pipe-framed garage that housed it along with a motorcycle, fire officials said. Roy said a pair of snowmobiles parked nearby had survived the fire.
“The good thing is that nobody was hurt,” he said. “Nobody was hurt and the house was alright. A boat can be replaced.”
Firefighters remained at the scene later Wednesday, snuffing out hot spots and searching for a cause. The name of the couple who owned the boat was not immediately available.