A fire destroyed The Bradbury Barrel Co.’s primary manufacturing building in Bridgewater on Monday night, after what firefighters believe to be an equipment failure sparked the flames.
Bridgewater Fire Chief Troy Bradstreet said the fire on Station Street was reported around 6:30 p.m by Bridgewater Town Manager Jill Rusby, who noticed the flames while driving.
Bradstreet said approximately 35 firefighters fought the fire for seven hours. Firefighters from Littleton, Mars Hill and Monticello helped the Bridgewater Fire Department contain the blaze. Despite efforts from firefighters, Bradstreet described the building as a total loss.
Bradstreet said firefighters were able to save a quonset structure attached to the primary building.
The cause has not been confirmed, but Bradstreet said a loader’s electrical system likely shortened out, causing the flames.
No one was in the building when the fire began, according to Bradstreet. Employees had left around 5 p.m., an hour and a half before Rusby reported the fire.
While Bradstreet said the owner had insurance on the facility, he said that estimating the value of what was lost was difficult because much of the equipment Bradbury Barrel used at the facility is no longer produced.
“It’s hard to place value on stuff like that,” Bradstreet said.
Bradstreet said that while he was happy no one was hurt, the destruction of the building would have a tremendous economic impact on Bridgewater.
“He employed probably 10 to 12 people in a small community like this,” Bradstreet said. “If he doesn’t rebuild, it’s going to be devastating for the folks in town that were working for him.”
Rusby said the Bradbury family had been longtime residents, and the role they played in the community couldn’t be understated.
“Words can’t describe it,” Rusby said. “It’s a huge impact on the town.”