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'2 good sources' for fire that destroyed barn

Cary Ashby • Jun 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM

NEW LONDON — The cause of a barn fire Tuesday afternoon remains unclear.

(NOTE: Photos and video related to the fire are posted on this website.)

However, John Chapin, chief of the New London Volunteeer Fire Department, said “we have two good sources” — a riding lawn mower which had caught fire earlier the same day or a trash fire from Monday night.

“We’re not too sure,” he added. “We will meet with the insurance adjuster and see what he wants to do.”

Fire destroyed the barn at 2277 Greenwich East Townline Road, New London, which is owned by Charles Rogers. The structure housed lawn mowers and related parts. 

“He is inventorying that right now,” Chapins said Wednesday, referring to the owner.

Firefighters were called about 1 p.m. Tuesday. The 10-member crew was at the scene one hour and 25 minutes. Chapin said the barn was fully engulfed upon arrival.

The barn is about 150 feet from Rogers’ residence, which wasn’t damaged.

Chapin was asked where the fire started in the barn.

“We’re still working on it,” the chief said.

The New London crew responded earlier in the day to Rogers’ property for a riding lawn mower that caught fire apparently due to an electrical issue. Firefighters were dispatched about 9 a.m.

“We had been there earlier in the day when a lawn mower caught on fire,” Chapin said. “He (Rogers) went to start it and it made a funny noise.”

After the fire, the mower was moved outside, near the barn.

“We are 100 percent sure that (the barn fire) started from a rekindle of the lawn mower,” Chapin said.

However, the chief hasn’t ruled out another possibility. He said there was a trash fire Monday night about 100 feet southwest of the barn that “was still burning” Tuesday.

“The fire could have started from there,” Chapin said. “The wind picked up and it’s possible the grass caught on fire and caught the barn on fire.”

The chief was asked if the trash fire was legal.

“It very well could have been legal,” Chapin said.

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