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Sawmill Open After Sunday Night Fire

Firefighters fill a collapsable water tank while responding to a three-alarm fire at Sheehan and Sons on Stoughton Pond Road in Perkinsville, Vt. on August 10, 2014.  (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker)

Firefighters fill a collapsable water tank while responding to a three-alarm fire at Sheehan and Sons on Stoughton Pond Road in Perkinsville, Vt. on August 10, 2014. (Valley News - Ariana van den Akker) Purchase photo reprints »

Weathersfield — A fire that broke out Sunday evening at a Perkinsville sawmill was confined mostly to the interior of the building.

The cause of the three-alarm fire and the extent of the damage are still under investigation.

Firefighters from 15 departments in Vermont and New Hampshire responded around 8 p.m. to the Sheehan and Sons sawmill, largely because there was no nearby water source that could be drawn from to put out the fire.

“The building burned down about 10 years ago, which was a complete loss,” said Joshua Dauphin, chief engineer at the West Weathersfield Fire Department.

“The issue with that area is water supply, so that’s why there were so many tankers. The closest water source was three-quarters of a mile away,” Dauphin said.

Dauphin was one of the first responders on scene.

“It looked like it originated from a battery charger,” Dauphin said. “The bulk of the fire had stayed around that general area. The wheel and loader that was parked in the garage right next to the battery charger also had caught on fire. We are able to knock down the fire fairly quickly in that general area.”

Dauphin said the other big challenge in putting out the fire was ventilation of all the smoke.

“It’s a big building,” he said. “Once we were able to get the garage doors open, we had to get all the smoke vented from the building.”

Tom Sheehan, who owns the sawmill, said the fire did not reach the exterior of the building.

“The damage was mostly interior, except the main garage door which got burned up,” he said.

Sheehan said that his insurance company would be investigating both the cause of the fire and the exact cost of the damage.

“We did lose a wheel loader, which costs about $100,000,” he said. “And the heat made the stuff in the ceiling come down, but there was no equipment damage, except for the loader.”

The fire damaged some of the electrical wiring, so there was no light in the main area of the building.

Despite the damage, Sheehan said the mill, which employs nine workers, was still operational.

“We’re still open, still accepting logs,” he said.

Lauren Bender can be reached at lbender@vnews.com or 603-727-3211.