ST. ALBANS — Fire destroyed a garage and the newly renovated apartment above it Wednesday.
The two-story, 30-by-30-foot building at 146 Bigelow Road, owned by Douglas and Bobbi Jo Neal, was only about 15 feet from the Neals’ house, but firefighters were able to save the home, according to Chief Jamie Crocker of the St. Albans Fire Department.
The only damage to the house was melted vinyl siding, according to Crocker.
“They had all brand new everything in it and … gone,” he said of the apartment over the garage.
Bobbi Jo Neal stood amid the remains of the destroyed garage, saying it contained a lifetime’s worth of fishing equipment that belonged to her husband, Douglas.
The fire, reported at about 8:30 a.m., drew firefighters from nine communities, according to Crocker. It was difficult to fight because the wood frame garage had a metal roof, which hampered efforts because everything was held inside the structure, according to Crocker.
He said the fire’s cause was not known Wednesday.
“It was so involved when we got there that it’s hard to say even what point in the garage it started,” Crocker said. “We’ll probably never, ever know because of the destruction of it.”
Neal was not home when the fire broke out, according to Crocker.
The garage had a tractor and many tools inside, all of which were destroyed.
About 30 firefighters from St. Albans, Canaan, Corinna, Detroit, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Hartland, Newport and Plymouth fought the blaze, Crocker said. The last firefighters left at about 12:15 p.m.
Crocker said he believed the garage was insured. He added that no one was living at the second-floor apartment because renovations had just been completed.
An excavator had to be brought in to finish knocking down the damaged building.
Morning Sentinel photographer Rich Abrahamson contributed to this report.