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Antique car destroyed in Claremont garage fire

CLAREMONT — The quick work of first responders saved a garage and nearby barn from a fire Saturday afternoon, however, the classic car that likely caused the fire couldn’t be saved.

The “1963 Studebaker Avanti is most likely a total loss,” Fire Chief Rick Bergeron said in a press release.

Firefighters were called to 164 Alden Road Saturday around 3:40 p.m. for a report of a car fire in a two-bay detached garage.

The property and car owner, Philip Mudge, had first attempted to douse the blaze with a garden hose.

“The cause of this fire has been placed with some sort of malfunction in an antique car that had been worked on earlier in the afternoon,” Bergeron said.

Smoke was first noticed coming from the garage around 3:30 p.m.

Mudge attempted to contain the fire to the engine compartment of the antique Studebaker with a garden hose, but it was out of control within minutes.

“His efforts did, however, buy some time for the building, which allowed the fire department to reach his rural location,” Bergeron said.

An off duty fire captain arrived just before the fire engine and reported the garage was well-involved at that point.

Firefighters had the blaze under control just after 4 p.m., but stayed on scene another 90 minutes to vent the building and check for hot spots.

The fire did not rise to the level of requiring a full first alarm response and was handled by eight firefighters.

Though one bay of the garage suffered severe fire damage, Bergeron praised “the excellent actions of the first responding firefighters” with saving the garage and nearby barn.

Bergeron added he did not have a cost estimate for the damage, but said the Mudges’ property is insured.


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