HENNIKER, N.H. (AP) — A fire has destroyed a fleet of snow plows in the small New Hampshire town of Henniker, as another storm approaches that could dump up to a foot more of snow.
The fire broke out at the Henniker Highway Department on Friday night after the plows had finished clearing snow from the streets. The state fire marshal's office said five dump trucks used as snow plows, one road grader and several other vehicles that were stored in the town garage were destroyed. The damage could exceed $1 million.
"This puts the town in a bad spot," Henniker Fire Chief Steve Burritt told the Concord Monitor. "The town has a serious problem for snow removal. Not that there isn't a solution, but it's going to be a challenge."
Investigators said the fire apparently originated in the engine of one of the trucks and spread.
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan said the garage had a full fire alarm system that alerted the Fire Department to the blaze, but firefighters were unable to enter the building to remove the vehicles because of heavy flames and smoke. He said the building was not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system that could have reduced the extent of the damage.
The only remaining heavy equipment were two pickup trucks and a front-end loader, which were parked outside and spared from the blaze. No injuries were reported.
The forecast was calling for 8 to 12 inches of snow on Monday, following the recent blizzard that buried parts of New England under several feet of snow.
"It's going to be a real pain if we get snow on Monday," Burritt told the Concord Monitor.
Henniker is a town of about 4,800 people about 20 miles west of Concord.