January 18, 2022

Fire at Benton car dealership remains under investigation

BENTON — Authorities continue to investigate the cause of a fire that destroyed an automotive repair garage Monday.

The late-afternoon fire caused more than $100,000 damage to Dan’s Used Cars and Parts in Benton. Nearly a dozen vehicles were demolished along with the building, according to Fairfield fire Lt. James Lane, who is investigating.

The fire raged for nearly two hours, fueled by gasoline, oil and other automotive fluids. Thirty firefighters from Fairfield, Waterville and Winslow responded.

Lane, who is Fairfield’s fire investigator, said he has yet to determine how and where the fire started. He said, however, that he believes it was accidental.

Four employees were inside the three-bay garage at the time. One of them, Bruce Salsbury, was treated at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville for minor smoke inhalation.

“We know somebody hollered `fire,’ and the place filled with smoke quickly,” Lane said.

The investigation, he said, has been delayed by his inability to reach some of the employees. All of them were given a day off Tuesday.

The building, owned by Dan Witham, was insured.

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