Johnson’s Garage destroyed by fire

By Lisa Williams Ackley
Staff Writer

Johnson’s Garage near Sandy Creek on South High Street in Bridgton, a motor vehicle repair business operated by Lee Johnson for 32 years, was destroyed by

32 YEARS IN BUSINESS — Johnson’s Garage in Sandy Creek was destroyed by fire Feb. 9, and owner Lee Johnson said he has no plans to rebuild. (Ackley Photo)

fire, last week.

The roof of the 40-foot by 60-foot building caved in, shortly after firefighters arrived at the scene Feb. 10.

Asked if the cause of the blaze was suspicious, Bridgton Fire Chief Glen Garland replied, “No — it had something to do with the oil furnace.”

“We had one firefighter who slipped on the ice and injured his elbow, a minor injury that required no treatment,” said Garland.

Approximately three dozen firefighters from Bridgton, Harrison, Naples and Sebago fought the fire which was toned out while Bridgton fire personnel were holding a training session at the central fire station

As to a reported blast or explosion occurring at the building, moments before the roof caved in, Fire Chief Garland said, “It’s hard to tell exactly what happened. Lee had oxygen and acetylene tanks at his business, which most (commercial) garages do.”

“It looks like a relief valve on the tanks let go and opened up, I believe,” said Garland, “and that’s obviously going to let the fire build up rapidly and add to the fire dramatically. Either that (occurred) or something similar to a back draft — those aren’t just in the movies. There were quite a few tires in the building, and those heat up and burn. And, there were a lot of flammable liquids, such as motor oil and other kinds, and as those all burn they add unburned particles to the air, and when it gets the mixture it needs and then something like a door opening up, or a window breaking happens and air rushes in, that sounds like” what created the force to take out all of the glass in the windows and the overhead door.

The only vehicle inside the garage when it burned was Johnson’s son’s motorcycle, according to Assistant Fire Chief Tim Cook.

Please follow and like us: