March 18, 2013

Firefighters' quick response helps save Oakland business

By Amy Calder
Staff Writer

OAKLAND — A quick response to an electrical fire Sunday at Oakland Redemption & Discount Beverage on Water Street helped saved the business, according to both the owners and fire officials.

click image to enlarge

Scott Bouchard, left, speaks with a customer outside his business, Oakland Redemption and Discount Beverage, on Monday. The fallen tree limb, foreground, struck a power line into the building Sunday evening, causing fire that caused extensive damage to the building.

Staff photo by David Leaming

“They said 3 to 5 more minutes more, and it would have burned to the ground,” Jen Bouchard said at the store Monday morning.

Bouchard, 41, and her husband, Scott, 49, pointed to a large tree branch that fell on wires attached to the building at 85 Water St. and caused the fire sometime after the store closed at 5 p.m. Sunday.
A neighbor reported the fire at 6:11 p.m., Fire Chief David Coughlin said.

“It was a quick response — quick 911; someone noticed it early before it got ahead of us,” he said.
The tree branch on wires to the building and “somehow arched back to the panel and started an electrical fire at the service entrance and electrical panel,” Coughlin said.

The fire was contained to the attic and north wall of the store where the walk-in beverage cooler is, according to both Coughlin and the Bouchards. They said the attic was used for storage.

“The fire never broke through the roof, but there’s a lot of charring in the attic which will need to be repaired and the electrical system needs repair,” Coughlin said. “The fire basically started on the outside of the building and worked its way in.”

The 3,200-square-foot, wood-frame building was constructed around 1990, according to Coughlin.

The Bouchards have owned the business about nine years and employ four people.

They plan to repair the damage and re-open as soon as possible, they said.

It has not been a good week for the couple.

On Wednesday, about three inches of water flooded the store floor when water from Church Street behind the business backed up onto Water Street, according to the Bouchards.

“We got that cleaned up, and now this,”  Jen Bouchard said.

The Bouchards are insured, but said they did not yet know the amount of monetary damage the fire caused. They were awaiting a review by their insurance company.

“There’s a lot of water damage,” Scott Bouchard said. “There are a lot of wiring issues. We’ve had a lot of volunteers offer to help. We’re going to call contractors to get prices and all that.”

About 25 firefighters from Oakland, Sidney, Belgrade and Rome responded to the scene, according to Coughlin. Delta Ambulance stood by at the scene; Central Maine Power Co. also responded, he said.

Jen Bouchard said she was thankful for firefighters’ efforts — and that no one was injured.

“I think they did a great job,” she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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