A Maine Turnpike Authority garage in Litchfield, seen Friday morning, was destroyed by a Thursday night fire. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

LITCHFIELD — Fire crews responded from across the region Thursday evening to a report of a large building fire at a multi-bay garage on Academy Road.

When they arrived at the building, part of the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Litchfield camp was fully engulfed in fire.

Mike Robinson, who lives across Interstate 95 from the complex, said he saw flames shooting in the air from the hot tub on the far side of his house around 5 p.m., and went to see what was happening.

When he arrived, Robinson said, another person said the fire had been reported.

“When I was taking pictures, there were multiple explosions coming out of the left side of the building,” he said. “I was standing directly across the street from the station, and I could hear them. And then when I walked back here, I could hear them, and I could smell the burning rubber as well.”

He said he posted his photos on social media to warn people away from the area.

Traffic on Route 197, which is also Richmond Road, was routed around a stretch of the state route via Small, Plains and Hallowell roads to accommodate tankers who were ferrying water into the fire scene.

Crews on the scene were not immediately available for comment.

 

An eight-bay garage at the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Litchfield facility was engulfed in fire Thursday, drawing crews from around the region to battle the blaze. Photo courtesy of Mike Robinson

Erin Courtney, public outreach manager for the Maine Turnpike Authority, said the eight-bay wooden garage stored five plow trucks, a motor and a new traffic control vehicle.

“There was someone that had stayed late and saw flames and called 911,” Courtney said. “I don’t know if it was inside or outside.”

She said no Turnpike Authority staff were injured. In all, seven people work on that site.

The garage was one of six structures on the property.

Courtney said officials at the Turnpike Authority have already discussed plans to get through the winter with the loss of the plows, deploying trucks from other operational areas.

“We’re not going to have to change our plow routes; we have enough trucks to keep us going,” she said.

Courtney said Thursday night was expected to be a challenge as freezing conditions were forecasted and the plows are out of commission.

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