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March 22. 2013 12:05PM

Barn destroyed in 3-alarm blaze at Wilson Farms


A three-alarm fire destroyed a maintenance barn Friday morning at Wilson Farms in Litchfield. (KIMBERLY HOUGHTON/Union Leader Correspondent)

LITCHFIELD — It was deja vu for the Wilson family on Friday, as a barn that was rebuilt following a fire more than 40 years ago again burned to the ground in a massive three-alarm fire.


The barn at Wilson Farm, 144 Charles Bancroft Highway, was destroyed by the blaze. There were no animals inside the barn, and no one was hurt battling the fire that brought firefighter crews from all over the region. The fire was reported shortly before 10 a.m., by passing motorists, according to fire officials.


Because a small crew mans the Litchfield Fire Department during the day, mutual aid was immediately called to assist, fire inspector Steve Dube said.


The two-story maintenance barn that caught on fire was used to store tractors and other farming equipment, although workers were able to get much of the machinery out of the building before the fire spread, according to witnesses on the scene.


A neighbor said the barn is primarily used as a workshop area and center for the farming operations. In the winter, there is a lot of work done to restore and prepare the tractors for the upcoming farming season, he said.


Wilson Farm, which has a larger facility in Lexington, Mass., is owned by Donald Wilson, according to its website. Wilson was not available for comment. The smaller farm and produce stand in Litchfield grows a variety of vegetables, including corn, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes and more. The Wilson family owns about 500 acres of property in town, according to the website.


Firefighters said a hazardous materials team arrived at the scene to help mitigate runoff from the firefighting efforts, and to alleviate concerns of fertilizer stored in the barn. Wilson Farm does have some goats on the site, but they are stored in a different barn next to the two-story barn that was destroyed, neighbors said.


Only the shell of the barn's structure remained on Friday. It took crews about two hours to get the blaze under control.


In addition to Litchfield firefighters, crews from Manchester, Londonderry, Hudson, Nashua, Amherst, Auburn, Derry, Bedford, Windham and Merrimack helped battle the blaze and provide station coverage.


The cause of the fire was still unknown Friday evening. Fire officials were continuing to investigate.
khoughton@newstote.com


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