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UPDATED: Fire destroys workshop in Ledyard

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Ledyard — A workshop on the property of a private home caught fire Tuesday evening and was destroyed.

No one was injured. The adjacent Dragon's Egg Studio was not damaged in the fire.

Linda Barnes, who was visiting her sister who lives in a house on the property she rents from owner Dan Potter, said Wednesday that she is grateful the fire did not spread.

"The firefighters did a good job," Barnes said. "It was really scary, because the fire got so big and it was really hot. Luckily no one was injured."

Her sister, Jodie Dunn, said the workshop began smoking again on Wednesday and firefighers had to return to douse the flames.

Firefighters were originally called at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday to 401 Shewville Road and found the structure engulfed in flames. Fire Chief Jonathan Mann said Wednesday morning that firefighters were at the scene until about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. An investigation by Ledyard Fire Marshal James Mann into the cause was still ongoing Wednesday.

"It was fully involved when I pulled up. I could see it from the road," said Ledyard Police Officer Troy Johnson, who was first on the scene.

The fire sent smoke through the wooded area nearby and hung in the air like a thick haze, as firefighters from multiple departments hurried to get water to the blaze at the end of a long, rocky driveway.  

Johnson said Potter uses the building as an art studio.

"That's probably his life's work in there," Johnson. He said Potter had left the studio about 45 minutes earlier. Johnson said he ran around the back of the building to make sure Potter's truck was not there.

Dragon's Egg Studio, located at that address, is a theater, dance and healing arts studio, according to its website. The octagon-shaped building is located several dozen feet from the structure that burned and was unscathed by the flames.

"The Egg is fine," said Barnes.

Mann said he the 30-by-25 foot workshop, however, was destroyed. There were propane tanks behind the building, but firefighters were able to knock down the fire on the back to prevent danger from them, he said.

Potter said the workshop housed material for making art and a "few precious pieces," but most of his art was kept in a separate building nearby that firefighters saved.

If the fire had been allowed to spread any more, the heat would have melted the art inside, Potter said.

"They're heroes," he said.

Fire departments from Gales Ferry, Mashantucket and Old Mystic and tankers from North Stonington, Center Groton, East Great Plains and Poquetanuck fire departments assisted at the scene.


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