SUMNER – “I looked up and saw black smoke and heard bang, bang, bang,” said Linda Pothier who lives on Redding Road near a forest road sometimes referred to as Russell Road. “Then I saw Dan running down the hill asking me to call 911.”
Dan Gessinger lives in a remote trailer about a mile down a rutted road and was using an old trailer near his home for storage. The bangs Pothier heard Wednesday afternoon were ammunition being discharged as the storage trailer burned.
Gessinger said he had no idea how the fire started, but after returning from hiking, he saw the trailer ablaze. “I grabbed my garden hose and started putting out the flames which had spread into the woods. I don’t know if I had tossed out a cigarette which finally caught or if the fire started in the trailer. I soon realized the fire was out of control and ran the mile to Linda’s house to ask her to call.”
Gessinger said no guns were stored in the trailer, but there was ammo.
A nearby brook gave the tankers enough water so none had to be carried in but the old log bridge used to cross it took a beating, and had to be shored up with more logs before the equipment could return to the station.
Peru and Canton answered calls for personnel to fight the fire. Forest Ranger Jay Bernard quickly joined the containment effort. Sumner Fire Chief Bob Stewart was in charge.