PERU, Maine — The town of Peru, Maine will be without its snowplows for the foreseeable future after an overnight fire destroyed the entire fleet and garage they were stored in.
"I was the first one on scene, and when we got here, the building was already collapsed on itself," Peru Fire Chief Dan Carrier said.
Carrier said crews were called to the Peru Road Department garage on Peru Center Road close to midnight Thursday, and the building was fully involved. Carrier said fire crews from eight different departments worked to put out the flames.
"This is going to be a tremendous challenge, especially being a small town, with small resources," Peru road commissioner Brad Hutchings said.
The Peru Road Department is responsible for maintaining roughly 72 miles of roadways in the community. The fire destroyed the building storing the town's snowplows, along with numerous pieces of equipment used for road work.
"Replacements are so hard to find especially if you're going to look at something used. We don't want to buy somebody else's headache, but we need to be able to service our people as soon as possible," Hutchings said.
According to Hutchings, the fire caused between $1.2 and $1.5 million in damages. Hutchings said with snow expected to fall this weekend, nearby communities have already offered to assist.
"Plowing on Sunday is going to be a mess. Mexico, Rumford, and Dixfield have offered to help us out a bit as soon as they're done with their routes," Hutchings said.
The Maine State Fire Marshal's Office was on scene to investigate the fire Friday morning, however, an official cause has not been determined.
"We'll respond, and we'll do things as best we can. We know that they're going to have a little bit of an impact here, especially this weekend, but hopefully, over time, things will work itself out and things will improve," Hutchings said.