According to Fire Chief Troy Bradstreet, the fire was called in around 9:57 p.m. The historic potato house was constructed in two sections, the first portion in 1946 and the second in 1959. Bradstreet said the fire started in the older section, to the south of the building.
No injuries were reported and both the potato house and the crop stored in it were insured. Maine State Police, the Sheriff's Office, EMA and Border Patrol assisted with traffic and evacuating residents from neighboring homes as a precaution. Bradstreet said two families were put up in a hotel due to smoke drifting toward their homes. He said the structure was partially insulated with spray urethane, which releases cyanide when burned.
MDOT provided signage, with traffic rerouted for several hours away from Route 1. Crews later sanded the road once traffic was allowed through several hours later.
In addition to Bridgewater, firefighters responded from Littleton, Monticello, Mars Hill, Easton, and Centreville, New Brunswick.
Bradstreet said this was a big fire for his community, and that he hasn't seen anything of this magnitude in several years. He called battling the blaze a team effort, which included Josh Tweedie, owner of Mars Hill IGA. Tweedie opened his store around 1 a.m. so firefighters' wives could get fixings for sandwiches and beverages for the crews.
Photo Courtsey of Carl Bradbury.