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Fast-Moving Fire Destroys Barn On Main Street

Fire officials are investigating the cause of an apparently accidental fast-moving fire that destroyed a  barn and most of its contents midday on Tuesday, April 9, at 64 Main Street.

Firefighters received a call reporting the fire at 12:34 pm, said Newtown Hook & Ladder Fire Chief Jason Rivera, who served as incident commander.

Volunteers firefighters from the Sandy Hook, Hawleyville, Dodgingtown and Botsford fire companies also responded to the fire.

There were no injuries in the incident. A damage value was not immediately available. The property is insured for loss.

Two horses, which had been in the barn earlier in the day, had been let out to graze in a nearby pasture and thus were not injured.

The destroyed barn is located behind a white two-story 19th Century Colonial-style house at 64 Main Street.

The 2.25-acre property is owned by the parish of Trinity Episcopal Church, at 36 Main Street. The house is the church rectory, serving as the residence for Pastor Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, her husband and their son.

Chief Rivera said he was at Hook & Ladder’s firehouse, at 45 Main Street, when the fire call came in, resulting in his rapid response to the fire scene.

On arrival, there was heavy fire moving throughout the 1½-story, 800-square-foot red, wood-frame barn, Chief Rivera said. Firefighters thus started an intensive operation to put out the blaze, he said.

Heavy gray-brown smoke blew across the landscape, moving in a southeasterly direction.

Hook & Ladder used its aerial ladder from which to shoot a jet of water onto the blaze, he said. Water was supplied from two nearby fire hydrants.

Firefighters got the blaze under control in about 30 minutes, Chief Rivera said.

There was much material stored in the barn, he noted, adding that some stored gasoline was removed from the structure before it could ignite.

Considering the dry conditions and the winds at the time of the fire, it was fortunate that the blaze did not spread to a nearby wooded area, he said.

Firefighters kept the blaze from spreading to a nearby garage.

Rev Adams-Shepherd was at the church when the fire occurred.

“My many heartfelt thanks to the firefighters that are here and their efforts to protect our neighbors and the structures nearby,” she said.

The house is on the east side of Main Street, at Main Street’s intersection with Hanover Road.

Firefighters spent about two hours at the scene.

Fire Marshal Bill Halstead said he is reviewing possible causes of the fire.

The incident caused the section of Main Street between its intersections with Currituck Road and with Church Hill Road to  be closed to through-traffic. The closure resulted in traffic congestion and travel delays, with motorists seeking alternate routes to their destinations.

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