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Property Owner’s Illegal Burn Destroys Barn, Truck

Claremont — Fire officials say an illegal burn by a property owner caused the fire that destroyed a barn on Chestnut Street Friday afternoon.

There were no injuries and three horses inside the barn escaped unharmed.

In a news release Friday evening, Fire Chief Rick Bergeron said the call came around 5:45 p.m. and when the first crews arrived six minutes later, the barn was almost fully engulfed. A nearby pickup truck also caught fire.

A second engine arrived and laid down a 600-foot supply line from a hydrant to ensure water continued to flow, the release said. Another barn about 30 yards away on a neighbor’s property was being threatened by the flames and heat. The release from Bergeron said “an exposure line” was established to protect that barn “and only a very small section of roof boards ignited just prior to water being applied.”

The fire was under control around 6:30 p.m., but crews remained on scene for two more hours.

Bergeron said James Cooke “inadvertently” caused the fire by burning a debris pit, without a permit, too close to the barn. Besides the barn and pickup truck, some farm equipment and tools were lost in the blaze.

At the scene, Bergeron said the burn pit was about 25 feet behind the barn, which was built in the 1800s.

“When it was burning there was a pretty good breeze and that is what probably carried an ember to his building,” Bergeron said, while several firefighters hosed down the smoking timbers and charred vehicle.