A workshop at the end of Wiley Woods Way in Walpole, along with a bus and two trucks outside the workshop, burned Monday, May 21.
Local fire departments began responding to the vicinity of 60 Wiley Woods Way for a structure on fire at 10:28 a.m. Monday.
Ernest Poland, owner of Poland Excavating, owns the workshop and vehicles.
No one was inside the building when the fire started, but a person was welding outside, according to South Bristol Fire Department Capt. Terry Mitchell. The person who was welding called in the fire.
Explosions inside the building slowed the firefighting response. The workshop contained welding equipment and tanks of acetylene, argon, and oxygen, which caused the explosions as the building burned, according to Mitchell.
Due to the explosions, firefighters were “unable to do any attack” and had to focus instead on containing the fire and not allowing it to spread, Mitchell said.
Firefighters from Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, and Newcastle provided aid to South Bristol. Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service was on scene for firefighter rehab. Bristol’s Engine 3 was the first truck to arrive. Firefighters sprayed water from the truck before getting closer to the fire due to the explosions.
Even though the structure and vehicles could not be saved, the fire was contained to the immediate area, according to Mitchell.
Poland kept equipment for his business and welding in the workshop, as well as tools and items he had been collecting since his 20s, or for the past 50 years.
“That’s the stuff that you can’t buy,” Poland said.
The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated and ruled the fire accidental, a result of the hot metal work being done outside the building, according to Sgt. Joel Davis.