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$1 million fire in Willard

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:53 PM

WILLARD Officials believe a fire that caused about $1 million in damage to the Dutch Maid Logistics Inc. was an accident.

The state fire marshal's office will investigate the fire that started in an unoccupied tractor-trailer containing aerosol cans. The truck was in the parking lot about 40 feet away from the Dutch Maid building. Dutch Maid is a for-hire refrigerated trucking company.

Willard Fire Chief Richard Myers said he doesn't believe the fire, which was reported about 9:45 a.m. Sunday, is suspicious.

"Right now it's looking (like) an electric short. It hasn't been confirmed yet," he said.

There were no injuries. The Dutch Maid building was not damaged, except for a broken window.

However, Myers said the wind caused the fire to spread to and destroy between 15 and 20 trailers and two tractors, which were parked side by side.

"The rest of the trailers were empty," Myers said.

"Everything was owned by Dutch Maid."

He said there also was unknown damage to several personal vehicles in the area.

Ten of the trailers are considered total losses, said Dutch Maid Operations Manager Sam Burrer. Nine more trailers sustained moderate to severe damage.

"It's definitely electrical. We know that," Burrer said.

The truck where the fire started hadn't been run in more than 24 hours. Burrer added that Dutch Maid trucks travel between 2,300 and 2,400 miles each week.

Myers said the wind blew several paint cans from Dutch Maid across U.S. 224 and caused a grass fire that damaged about six acres of "corn stubble."

"We closed 224 for a couple hours," the fire chief added.

Dutch Maid has been in existence for more than 30 years and has had a few minor fires through the years, Burrer said.

Willard firefighters were on the scene more than six hours Sunday. Personnel from Attica, Greenwich, Monroeville, North Fairfield, Plymouth, Shiloh and Tiro assisted the Willard Fire Department.

Myers estimated firefighters used about 21,000 gallons of water to control the blaze.

Chief Ronald Stang of the Huron River Joint Fire District said two of his firefighters made two trips with its tanker before returning to the station. Myers said all the water had to be transported to the scene, because there were no fire hydrants.

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