East Bethel fire fight hindered by junk vehicles

An exploding boiler in an outside storage building led to a Thursday afternoon (March 15) fire that burned many junk cars and was a challenge to put out because of all the debris in the way, according to East Bethel Fire Chief Mark DuCharme.

The East Bethel Fire Department was able to get a March 15 fire under control before it spread to nearby trees and tall grass, but Fire Chief Mark DuCharme said the junk vehicles and other debris made the site difficult to access. Courtesy of East Bethel Fire Department

The East Bethel Fire Department was able to get a March 15 fire under control before it spread to nearby trees and tall grass, but Fire Chief Mark DuCharme said the junk vehicles and other debris made the site difficult to access. Courtesy of East Bethel Fire Department

DuCharme said they are still investigating why the boiler exploded. Volunteer firefighters were actually a few minutes away responding to a medical call when they received the call about the exploding boiler.

The rescue truck that was at the medical call has a water tank that holds between 300 and 400 gallons of water in case it needs to put out a fire at a car crash, DuCharme said.

This was the only vehicle the East Bethel Fire Department could get on site because of all the junk vehicles and debris blocking access points.

DuCharme’s biggest worry was the fire would spread to nearby trees and dry, tall grass. If that had happened, DuCharme said firefighters could have been there for days putting out a large wildfire.

Firefighters were able to put out the fire before it spread to these areas. A nearby pole barn that apparently had pigs in it was also spared.

Some power lines were knocked down by the fire. A dispatcher called the power company to turn off the electricity for those poles.

According to City Administrator Jack Davis, the city has sent the property owner some letters asking the property be cleaned up in order to meet city code. He said the city’s building official Larry Martin has worked with this individual and there has been some clean-up on this property.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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