Westport battles storage barn blaze



 Firefighters from Westport and surrounding towns battled a late-night fire that caused heavy damage to a large one-story barn-like structure at 212 American Legion Highway (Route 177)  east of the Tiverton line.

Fire Department Captain Michael P. Silvia said the blaze, which was reported at three minutes past midnight Tuesday, caused heavy damage to about half of the wooden structure but that other portions were spared. He described it as a 100-foot by 500-foot building divided into sections, used largely for storage.

"While extinguishing the fire, firefighters had to overcome not only the size of the building that was subdivided into smaller units, each the size of a two-stall garage, but the cold weather and the lack of hydrants in the area," Capt. Silvia said.

He said the situation had similarities to last week's fire at a flea market in Tiverton, a blaze that Westport fire crews helped fight.

In both cases, the buildings were divided into many sections and both "were filled with 1,001 items of every description." He said he saw car parts, farm equipment, furniture, tools — "you name it."

And outside the structure, which is reached by a 500-foot driveway off the north side of Route 177, were a number of old cars and boats parked in the snow.

The owner of the property was reported as Jeremiah Torres of Westport.

Crews from Tiverton, Dartmouth (Districts 2 and 3) and Little Compton helped fight the fire and transport water to the scene. Since there are no nearby hydrants, water had to be carried in by tanker trucks.

Although it took crews about an hour to control the fire, firefighters remained on the scene past sunrise to make sure it did not rekindle. Nobody was injured during the fire.

The cause of the fire and value of loss to building and contents has not been determined.

The Westport Fire Investigation Unit along with Westport Police responded to conduct an origin and cause investigation.



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