BUCKFIELD — A garage and several vehicles burned Thursday night and wind-whipped flames spread to a nearby house on Depot Street.
The garage at Streaked Mountain Motor Group was engulfed in flames at about 9 p.m. Dozens of firefighters from several towns were attempting to save the home next to it after flames began to burn through an upper floor.
Initial reports were that no one was injured when the garage went up in flames. One bystander said he believed an explosion caused the fire.
“He was working on one of my buddy’s cars when something blew up,” said Dustin Damon, who lives in Buckfield.
The business works on all types of vehicles, from cars to snowmobiles, Damon said. It was not clear how many vehicles were inside the garage when it burned. A pickup truck parked next to it was also fully engulfed, a firefighter said.
By 9:30 p.m., the garage had burned almost flat. All that remained were timbers that were quickly tumbling into the flaming pile of debris below. Balls of fire occasionally shot up from the rubble as the contents of a tank caught fire.
A firefighter said he did not know what was inside the tank.
The cause of the fire was not known. Witnesses said the garage went up fast.
“I saw a mushroom cloud and I could hear a loud crack,” said Zach Kelly, a teenager who lives near the building that burned. “I heard an explosion and came out here.”
Damon said the operator of the auto business lives in the adjacent house with his wife and children. He did not know their names.
Fire crews from Buckfield were joined by others from Paris, Hebron, Turner and Sumner as they sought to save the house.
“There were firetrucks coming from everywhere,” said Steven Michaud, a teenager who followed the trucks to the scene.
The garage is roughly a mile from the intersection of routes 117 and 140. Firefighters expected to be at the scene into Friday morning.