CHESTER | Even though fire officials are still investigating a brush fire that burned nearly 10 acres on Monday, interim police Chief William Burke said they consider the blaze suspicious.

The fire, which police and fire officials said they believe was set, started in an abandoned fiberglass boat about a mile into the woods off Harantis Lake Road. Fire Lt. James Hassam said yesterday the fire was under control about 7 p.m. after 60 firefighters from at least eight towns battled the blaze for more than four hours.

Yesterday morning, firefighters continued to monitor hot spots in the area but said the fire was extinguished.

Burke said police and fire officials have been unable to identify the boat or the owner. There have not been any recent reports of stolen boats in town, and Burke said yesterday they are alerting nearby police departments about the incident.

"The boat has pretty much burned right down to dust," he said, noting they do not know how the vessel got to such a remote location.

The fire burned brush near power lines and spread into nearby woods, scorching the rocky terrain. The first report of the fire came about 3:30 p.m. when someone from the other side of Chester called the fire station to report a smell of smoke, fire Chief Richard Antoine said Monday.

The location was so remote fire officials had to trim brush and cut through an overgrown path just to reach the fire. Forestry trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles were used to transport water and supplies.

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