Fire destroyed the blacksmith’s workshop at Scottish Lion Wrought Iron, 587 Bristol Road, Bristol, the morning of Monday, Sept. 25.
No one was hurt in the fire. Firefighters from across the county responded to extinguish the blaze, which marked the first deployment of the Lincoln County Firefighter Strike Team, according to Bristol Fire Chief Paul Leeman Jr.
The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the fire because it involved a commercial building. Investigators visited the scene Monday afternoon and concluded the fire was accidental due to an “electric malfunction,” Leeman said.
The Lincoln County Communications Center dispatched Bristol Fire and Rescue at 10:34 a.m. for a report of a structure fire. The Bremen, Damariscotta, Newcastle, and South Bristol fire departments were dispatched shortly thereafter to provide assistance.
The fire posed several obstacles for firefighters, Leeman said. There were no water sources in the immediate area, so firefighters had to shuttle water from a hydrant in Damariscotta, more than 2 miles away. Newcastle firefighters established a tanker shuttle from the hydrant to the scene, which was crucial to on-scene efforts, Leeman said.
In addition, temperatures over 80 degrees plagued firefighters, Leeman said. Bristol Fire and Rescue set up a space for rest and rehabilitation and distributed water bottles to responders throughout the effort.
Leeman called in reinforcements from the Lincoln County Firefighter Strike Team close to 30 minutes after the initial call. The strike team, created by the Lincoln County Fire Chiefs Association, consists of firefighters from departments across the county who provide additional manpower for major incidents.
Members of the strike team from Boothbay, Jefferson, Somerville, and Southport responded at the perfect time, Leeman said.
“They showed up and were able to take over so we could get the guys who had been fighting the fire all day into rehab,” Leeman said. “It was a continuous rotation of manpower and it worked very well.”
Firefighters used a defensive attack, known as “surround and drown,” to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings, Leeman said. Damariscotta’s ladder truck targeted the roof and second-story windows, while teams of firefighters surrounded the workshop.
The teams did not enter the building, Leeman said.
The fire was knocked down just after noon, Leeman said, with only hot spots remaining to be checked and sprayed. Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to an adjoining building, as well as a nearby residence.
The two-story workshop is a total loss, Leeman said. The second floor’s contents are likely a total loss, though Leeman was unsure about items on the first floor.
Leeman estimated that close to 40 firefighters responded to the scene, a “very good response” for a weekday morning, he said.
“We’re lucky we got what we did,” Leeman said.
The Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service assisted with rehabilitation, and Central Maine Power Co. responded to shut off the power to the property, Leeman said. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the scene.