Washington highway crew regroups after fire

WASHINGTON -- The state fire marshal's office has completed its on-site investigation into the May 2 fire at the town's highway garage and found no evidence of foul play.

The exact cause of the fire has not been determined, however, First Selectman Mark Lyon said.

The site is temporarily under the supervision of CIRMA, the town's property insurance carrier, and will remain cordoned off until the investigation is completed. The garage and contents were insured.

"The town has received too many offers of equipment and assistance from neighboring towns, contractors and vendors to accept," Lyon said in a prepared release.

The selectmen's office and town highway Director Kevin Smith are putting together a plan to re-equip the highway crew through the "generous" offers, Lyon said.

"We should be back to full operation in a very short period of time," he said.

"It will most likely take weeks to months to determine the complete cost of replacement and reconstruction," Lyon said, "at which time the selectmen will work with the Board of Finance to address any financial issues that may arise."

Firefighters had responded to the garage along Blackville Road (Route 109) at about 4:30 a.m., after neighbors reported hearing explosions. The garage was fully engulfed in flames when emergency officials arrived.

Six town trucks; lawn-mowing equipment, including a new roadside mower that had arrived just the day before; and maintenance equipment and parts, including mechanics' tools, were destroyed, Smith said.

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322