BYRON – An old camp on a dead-end road off East Shore Road beside Garland Pond was destroyed by fire on Saturday afternoon, deputy fire Chief Bob Susbury Jr. said late Sunday afternoon.

There were no injuries.

After arriving at the camp, which was built in the 1950s or 1960s, Andrew Bentley of Braintree, Mass., started a fire in the woodstove to warm the building, Susbury said. Bentley hadn’t owned the camp for long and hadn’t updated the stove or vent pipe, which went through the roof.

While Bentley and his neighbor at the pond, Dick Thereau of Byron, were outside cutting a tree, Bentley noticed the fire.

“We feel that ashes came out of the stove and caught the floor on fire. It was pretty evident what happened. (Bentley) went to move his truck and he saw flames shooting out of the house,” Susbury said.

Bentley shut off his propane tanks and drove down the road a mile to get to a phone, because he had left his cell phone inside the camp.

At 2:24 p.m. an emergency dispatcher in Paris took the call and sent Byron, Roxbury and Mexico firefighters there, along with Med-Care Ambulance. Andover firefighters also went to help.

“It was very heavy fire. The camp was on the ground when I pulled in. We were trying to protect the out-buildings, and prevent the fire from spreading to neighboring camps. Then one propane tank exploded. We were very lucky when that tank exploded, because everyone was back far enough,” Susbury said.

The wind was blowing toward the pond, which was about 40 feet away, and that wind direction prevented the fire from spreading into woods.

Susbury said 25 firefighters helped extinguish the fire and everyone left at 5:30 p.m.

The American Red Cross wasn’t contacted, he added, because it was a camp, and a state fire investigator wasn’t needed, because there were no injuries and they determined how the fire started. He didn’t estimate the loss.

“It was pretty evident what happened,” Susbury said.

The camp was insured.


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