HODGDON, Maine — Sparks created from jump-starting a vehicle are being blamed for a fire that destroyed a family-operated garage and salvage business in Hodgdon on Friday morning.

Crews from three departments responded just after 9:30 a.m. to the fire at Benn Auto Sales, Inc., on Calais Road and found the three-story barn housing the business fully involved, according to Rick Tidd, assistant chief of the Hodgdon Volunteer Fire Department.

“They tried to hit it with a [fire] extinguisher, but that pushed it right up the wooden walls and into the attic,” Tidd said Friday afternoon. “This was an old barn that had been there a lot of years.”

The building’s contents included numerous combustibles, including barrels of waste oil and old tires, Tidd said.

John Benn owns the business, Tidd said, adding there are three employees but he was unsure how many were in the building when the fire broke out.

Benn declined to comment Friday evening.

No injuries were reported, the assistant chief said.

The Hodgdon Fire Department received aid from Houlton and Linneus to battle the blaze, which took 40 firefighters with five tankers nearly five hours to contain, Tidd said.

For a time, crews used hoses to create a curtain of water to protect a nearby home when the siding of that building caught fire from the extreme heat of the blaze.

“We were able to save that structure,” Tidd said. “I’ll be going back for a while to check on hot spots.”

The barn and all its contents were destroyed, and Tidd said he was unsure if Benn had insurance for the building.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.