PERU — Friday morning, Peru officials were reaching out to area towns after a devastating overnight fire destroyed the highway garage, its four snow plows, tools and supplies.

Fire Chief Dan Carrier said his department and area fire departments were toned out to the fire around 11:30 p.m. Thursday. “When we got there, it was fully involved. Everything was in there. The only thing left for the town is a backhoe and a Kubota tractor.”

The newest town plow truck, which had just been paid off, was outside the building but was so close that it also caught on fire.

The estimated 35-by-60-foot wooden frame building with metal roof was built in 1993. Carrier estimated about 20,000 gallons of water was used to fight the fire.

A fire consumes the town of Peru highway garage Thursday night. Fire Chief Dan Carrier said when firefighters arrived, the building was fully engulfed by flames. Peru Fire Department photo

Dixfield Road Commissioner Randy Glover sanded Peru Center Road during the fire.

Peru Road Commissioner Brad Hutchings said they have to make a plan.


“We can’t live off these other towns because if we get a big storm, these small towns aren’t going to be able to help us at all,” Hutchings said. “That’s going to be our biggest problem.

“My biggest concern is the immediate solution, then the long-term issue.”

The Peru road crew is responsible for 33 miles of road. However, Hutchings said it amounts to more because each road is two lanes.

“Plus in the wintertime, it’s an extra 8 miles because we do the Greenwoods Road. We do 72 lane miles of road,” he said.

Hutchings said this will drastically change the way Peru takes care of plowing. Most affected will be people living on “smaller” roads where there are few residences.

“You are definitely not a priority, unfortunately, but you are a priority because you’ve still got to get to work, the grocery store, etc.,” he said. “It’s a Catch-22. Everything’s a priority, but the main roads are more of a priority.”


Chris Stanford, senior fire investigator with the Office of State Fire Marshal, was at the fire scene Friday morning.

“They really don’t suspect anything. I just interviewed Brad (Hutchings) and he thinks it’s just over a million dollar loss,” Stanford said. “Unfortunately, when you get this much damage, this much destruction, it’s very difficult for us really to pinpoint anything.”

Before visiting the smoldering remains of the building, all five members of the Select Board met in an emergency session at the Town Office to brainstorm what could be done in the short term.

Select Board member Arthur Clifford is the point person for the board, and is assisting Hutchings to try to put together equipment so the town can plow, sand and pick up snow.

He told the board that Woodstock Town Manager Vern Maxfield contacted him and has offered Peru a 2007 plow truck to use.

Hutchings said the work of clearing roads will be slower because the road crew will be using equipment — on loan from neighboring towns — that is unfamiliar to them . “Other towns set up their equipment differently than we do,” he said.


Dixfield Town Manager Alicia Conn came to the meeting and said they could assist by plowing the area just past the Buddy Wendall McLain Bridge as well as the town of Peru parking lot.

“Anything would help,” Clifford said.

Board Chairperson Gail Belyea said the town is also looking for a garage where the four-man crew can do repairs on the equipment towns loan to them.

Board member Patrick Houghton said Clinton Bradbury has offered the use of a small garage with a large bay in Dixfield for Peru’s use.

Board member Jason Dolloff asked residents to “bear with us at this time. The roads may not be totally salt(ed) and sanded.”

Peru officials expressed their thanks for towns and individuals who have or will be reaching out to them.

Any town that can assist with a plow vehicle is asked to contact the Peru Town Office at 207-562-4627.

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