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Claremont storage barn fire under investigation

CLAREMONT - The fire that destroyed a shed and barn on Pleasant Street Friday afternoon is being investigated by police.

The barn is part of the American Plate Glass property at 150 Pleasant St., which is owned by Leigh Kelk. The attached shed was a total loss, and the barn, which the business used as a storage building, sustained moderate to severe damage on all three levels.

"It is undetermined in origin is all I know and we are working from there," said police Sgt. Jeff Burnham Tuesday. He said he is working with some leads in his investigation.

Fire Chief Richard Bergeron said his department's fire investigator was unable to determine the cause "and found indications that the origin of the fire was not accidental or natural."

The barn is located in a compact downtown area, Bergeron said. According to the owner, the barn structure was over 125 years old.

Firefighters responded to the reported shed fire on Pleasant Street Friday at 3:39 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a shed attached to a larger three-story barn-type structure, with the smaller building heavily involved in flames. The fire was under control after 45 minutes, and firefighters were able to stop the fire from spreading to the American Plate Glass retail store as well as a nearby single-family home.

Engines from Cornish and Ascutney as well as a ladder truck from Newport responded to the fire.The Newport Fire Department also supplied an engine to the scene to staff a Rapid Intervention Team. Golden Cross Ambulance provided EMS coverage at the scene. Bergeron said he did not have a cost estimate on the damage, but he said it was considerable.


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