Blaze destroys Henniker snow-removal equipment, leaving ‘serious problem’

Last modified: 1/31/2015 12:32:51 AM
Almost all of the snow removal equipment for the town of Henniker was lost in a fire at the town garage last night.

Firefighters were alerted to the fire at 7:50 p.m. by an automatic alarm after all of the plows had finished cleaning the streets for the day.

“They did a good job, like they always do,” said fire Chief Steve Burritt. “All the plows were home and put to bed for the night, and everyone had left when the alarm came in.”

Five dump trucks and a grader were lost in the fire, the chief said, which is the majority of the heavy equipment the town uses to clear the roads in the winter. All that’s left is two pickup trucks and a front-end loader, which were outside the garage.

“This puts the town in a bad spot,” Burritt said. “The town has a serious problem for snow removal. Not that there isn’t a solution, but it’s going to be a challenge.”

Firefighters arrived to find intense flames shooting out of one of the bays of the garage and out the eaves of the building, which was built in the late ’60s or ’70s, Burritt said. By the time the fire was extinguished, the roof and the rear wall had collapsed. The plow trucks were blackened and covered with debris.

The building and almost all of the equipment inside is a total loss, Burritt said.

The scene smelled of gasoline and burnt plastic. A river of blackened slush ran down the road leading to the garage as firefighters pumped water from the Contoocook River to douse the flames.

Firefighters from Hillsboro, Bradford, Warner, Weare, Bow and Concord all responded to the scene.

A similar fire took place in the town of Hopkinton in 2012, when the Public Works Department building caught fire, scorching equipment and trucks.

One big difference is that fire happened in June, while the Henniker fire took place in the middle of winter.

“It’s going to be a real pain if we get snow on Monday,” Burrit said.

Firefighters continued to douse the charred building until after 11 p.m. No one was injured in the blaze.

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