The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 26, 2008

Verrills plan to rebuild after fire destroys farmstand

Fire departments from neighboring towns were called in to help quell the Verrill Farmstand fire on September 20. (Photo by Ellen Huber)

Fire engulfed the Verrill Farmstand on Wheeler Road in Concord on Saturday, September 20, destroying the 5,000-square foot structure, but the business has quickly rebounded. “We’re open now,” said Stephen Verrill, one of the owners of the farm business. He said they pulled out and began using the original farmstand that rests on the chassis of a 1940 Ford International truck.

They plan to rebuild, “As quickly as possible, but it won’t be overnight.” Verrill explained, “It’ll be in a couple of phases. We were out yesterday looking at modular buildings for an interim thing.”

According to Verrill, sales of produce to restaurants has been uninterrupted, and they hope to resume full pie-baking operations in time for Thanksgiving. While they can use an older kitchen that was used before the farm stand was built, Verrill says they are looking for additional kitchen space, because when they are baking at maximum volume, they use ten ovens.

Fire spread quickly

The farmstand was open when the fire started, however all customers and employees were able to leave the building safely. “The fire marshall attributed it [the fire] to the ceiling fan,” said Verrill. He added that employees remembered smelling something electrical burning before the flames were seen. By the time the fire was noticed, there was already a hole in the ceiling, he said.

Stephen Verrill looks to the future after recent fire. (Photo by Joan Rolfe)

Carlisle was one of the towns that sent mutual aid to help Concord’s Fire Department fight the four-alarm blaze. Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery said that Engine 4 arrived at the scene and became part of the fire-fighting water supply. The Carlisle unit accessed a water source about 1,000 feet away from the fire and, together with a tanker from Hanscom, began pumping over 78,000 gallons of water.

Although mutual aid is a necessity in terms of providing manpower, skills and equipment, Flannery acknowledges that, “You are limited in what you can provide. A fire doubles every two minutes and it takes time to get there from another town.” Carlisle received the alarm for the Verrill Farm fire at 5:14 p.m. The fire was out by 7 p.m. and the crew was back at the fire station a little after 10 p.m. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito