High winds stoke flames during early morning fire at Dunbarton farm

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —...

  • Fire crews battled a 3 alarm fire during heavy rains early Thursday morning in Dunbarton. Photos courtesy Jay Heath. —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 10/17/2019 2:09:18 PM

A 200-year-old barn was totally destroyed and an attached farmhouse was gutted in an early morning fire in Dunbarton.

The home at 57 Twist Hill Road was under renovation and had been completely overhauled with new plumbing, electrical, insulation, windows and appliances. All of that work was destroyed in the fire.

The owner, Alina Bosch, was just about to move into the remodeled home, Dunbarton Fire Chief Jonathan Wiggin said.

“She had done quite a job on this property,” Wiggin said. “It’s just a shame.”

The property is home to Twist Hill Farm, which sells eggs, meat, honey and vegetables. It has multiple buildings, including a greenhouse, several sheds and outbuildings, and at least two garages, one with an apartment above, according to public records.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, but the property owner and her tenant were unharmed.

The fire was called in by the homeowner about 2:42 a.m. She smelled smoke and looked out to see the barn on fire, Wiggin said.

All of the farm animals were in different enclosures and were unhurt except for one sick chicken the homeowner was nursing back to health. The owner had gone out to check on the chicken, which was kept warm by a heat lamp, just before the fire started, Wiggin said. The chicken likely perished in the fire.

The exact cause of the blaze is still undetermined, but it’s not considered suspicious.

Wiggin was the first to arrive on the scene and said the barn was engulfed by flames, which were spreading to the attached house. In addition to Dunbarton, fire crews from 12 other towns responded to help douse the flames and pump water from a nearby pond, which was trucked to the scene.

High winds caused the fire to shift direction several times and even briefly trapped several firefighters on the second floor of the home. One firefighter fell and hurt his knee and another cut his hand as they were rushing to exit the burning building, Wiggin said.

The house is still standing, but is completely gutted. The barn was destroyed, Wiggin said. About 50 feet away, the vinyl siding on a detached garage with an apartment above was melted. That structure was in danger of catching on fire as the wind pushed flames and sparks in all directions.

Wiggin said it was one of the larger fires the department has dealt with recently.

While fire crews were on scene, the department received six calls for reports of downed trees or wires in town, Wiggin said.

The homeowner has insurance, Wiggin said, but the damage was significant.

“You can never replace those beautiful old barns,” Wiggin said. “They just don’t build buildings like that anymore.”




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