February 6, 2013

Mechanic loses tools, equipment in St. Albans blaze

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

ST. ALBANS -- A St. Albans mechanic said he lost $100,000 in tools and equipment in a fire Wednesday morning that swept through his two-story garage.

click image to enlarge

Ron Pelletier, of St. Albans, points to the shell of a Harley Davidson motorcycle destroyed in a garage fire Wednesday morning at his home on Webb Ridge Road. Pelletier said he lost $100,000 in tools and equipment.

Staff photo by Doug Harlow

Ron Pelletier, 57, said he also lost a prized 1990 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that belonged to a friend who died of cancer.

"I think what happened is the wood stove caught some firewood behind it and around it on fire," he said. "It was fully engulfed when (firefighters) got here, flames coming out of the eaves. There's nothing salvageable; it's junk."

The inside of the 30-by-32-foot garage Wednesday was a melted mass of charred equipment and fallen timbers, some still smoking three hours after the 11 a.m. fire. The shell of the Harley-Davidson Sportster sat amid blackened debris.

Pelletier said the building on Webb Ridge Road was insured, but the contents, estimated to be worth $100,000, were not.

"I lost all my mechanical tools, everything you need for mechanic work," he said. "I had two tool boxes -- each one worth probably $30,000, anyway. I just bought a new furnace and that's gone; a new MIG welder, a new air compressor and torches."

Pelletier said firefighters saved the house, an A-frame next to the garage. He said he saw smoke coming from the eaves of the garage and his wife dialed 911 for help.

"They did a good job. They did what they could," he said. "The house never even got warm. They were right on to it."

Fire crews from Canaan, Pittsfield, Hartland and St. Albans went to fight the blaze.

Pelletier said he learned how to be a mechanic from his father, who owns Pelletier Auto Sales on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville. He said he hopes to begin replacing the lost tools and get back to work as soon as possible.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com

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