BATH — A motorcycle and snowmobile shop employee suffered second-degree burns and access to Bath’s downtown was restricted for several hours Tuesday after fire broke out in the store, located near Bath Iron Works.

Bath Fire Chief Steve Hinds said Roger Love, an employee of RVI, burned his arms and legs while trying to put out the fire.

Hinds said the location of the business at 733 Middle St. — within walking distance of downtown Bath — forced police to shut down the ramps that bring Route 1 traffic to Bath’s downtown from the south and north. RVI — known locally as “The House of Helmets” — is located under the Route 1 viaduct, which carries traffic over the city of Bath.

Love was taken to MidCoast Hospital in Brunswick, where he was treated for second-degree burns and released, according to Bill King Jr., RVI’s owner. He said he was told the store building is still structurally sound, but that it sustained heavy smoke and water damage. He was unsure whether it will reopen at that location.

“We hope to be back, but at this point we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

Hinds said Love had been working inside the shop on an all-terrain vehicle engine. Love was draining gas from the engine when it backfired and ignited the gas, Hinds said.

“There was fire throughout the building when we arrived. Flames were shooting through the roof,” Hinds said.

The fire, which produced heavy black smoke, was reported around 12:15 p.m.

Hinds said firefighters from several neighboring towns helped the Bath department, and crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to an adjacent office and storage building owned by King.

King, who has operated RVI for 39 years, said his shop specializes in the sale of motorcycle and snowmobile parts and accessories. A big part of his business is selling motor sports helmets. He said his staff had just stocked the shelves with winter items that included snowmobile gloves, boots and helmets.

Jim DeMartini, a spokesman for BIW, said the fire did not disrupt the afternoon shift change at the shipyard, which takes place at 4 p.m.

Hinds said it took fire crews about three hours to bring the fire under control and to reopen city streets.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]