HOPKINTON — According to Town Administrator Neal Cass, insurance adjusters have been on the site of a three-alarm blaze.
The highway department building fire started when a fire in the town's 10-wheel dump truck set off an explosion that lit a six-wheeled truck on fire.
The contractor has been working with the adjuster to determine the final number for rebuilding the garage, and Cass said the town has received the funding and the approval of the insurance company to begin demolition on the ruins of the building. Insurance will cover the full replacement cost for the building, which was deemed a total loss, Cass said.
A new six-wheel dump truck to replace the one that was destroyed in the fire has already been bought and paid for and is due for delivery this year. The town was going to trade in the old truck to help cut the cost of the new one, but since it was destroyed, insurance should cover the trade-in value of that vehicle, so it should be a wash, Cass said.
More good news is that the grader, which is the department's most valuable piece of equipment and was parked inside the garage during the fire, only suffered minor damage that will be covered by insurance.
Insurance will also fix a small dump truck that was damaged in the fire and will pay for a small tractor the department had rented to do roadside mowing.
And the town's mechanic, who worked out of the highway garage repairing the fleet of vehicles including the fire trucks, police cruisers, highway trucks and even a couple of school buses, will set up shop at an abandoned state highway shed in Warner.
“The state has been great to work with and is letting us use that space,” said Cass.
But there's some bad news. Insurance will only cover the fair market value of the 10-wheel dump truck, which was only 5 years old and will cost between $150,000 and $180,000 to replace, so the town will have to make up the difference in order to purchase a new truck.
Cass said the insurance company has still not given him a firm number on how much they'll pay to replace the building, but he said the authorization to start clearing out the destroyed garage will do a lot for morale of the staff who are working from temporary trailers on the site.
“It'll be nice to have the rubble cleared,” Cass said.
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Nancy Bean Foster may be reached at email@example.com.