Fire destroys South Bridgton farmhouse

UNDER INVESTIGATION — A Tuesday afternoon fire engulfed the barn of this farmhouse at 495 South Bridgton Road, near the Ingalls Road. A State Fire Marshal was on the scene within hours to determine the cause. (Photo courtesy of Troy Morse)

UNDER INVESTIGATION — A Tuesday afternoon fire engulfed the barn of this farmhouse at 495 South Bridgton Road, near the Ingalls Road. A State Fire Marshal was on the scene within hours to determine the cause. (Photo courtesy of Troy Morse)

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Area fire departments were challenged by manpower and water shortages Tuesday afternoon when a large fire destroyed a South Bridgton farmhouse and melted some of the siding of a nearby apartment building.

The 1:30 p.m. fire started in a barn at 495 South Bridgton Road, near the Ingalls Road, and had spread to the main farmhouse and addition when the first engine arrived 10 minutes later, said Bridgton Deputy Fire Chief Corin Meehan. “The connected farm complex was fully-involved,” with only four or five Bridgton firefighters initially on the scene, he said.

Bridgton eventually responded with three engines, a tanker and a ladder truck, but needed to go to a third alarm in order to muster the required manpower to knock down the blaze, which took about 30 minutes. Nine area towns responded: Sebago, Standish, Baldwin, Denmark, Casco, Naples, Harrison, Fryeburg and Sweden.

Meehan said the owner of the house, Timothy Blair, and two other family members, including a young child, were at home at the single-family farmhouse when the fire broke out. All of them escaped unhurt. There was no loss of animal life, as the barn was used for storage. Assessment records list the total value of the home, which had several additions, as $164,893.

An investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office was on the scene within hours to begin searching for the cause, which is as yet undetermined.

Firefighters were hampered by frozen ice at the nearest water source, a dry hydrant at Adams Pond, and a secondary water source had to be tapped from several miles away, across the town line in Sebago, Meehan said. Firefighting efforts were also delayed until power could be cut from power lines that surrounded the building on two sides.

The South Bridgton Road south of Burnham Road was closed for several hours, as Bridgton Police assisted with rerouting drivers and providing traffic control.

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