Fire destroyed a parked van Wednesday morning, Sept. 21, but workers were able to keep the flames from spreading to a church just feet away.

Nick Osborne and Scott Fernald, who both work for Bucksport-based Osborne’s Plumbing & Heating, were working at a home next to the Sandy Point Congregational Church on Route 1 Wednesday morning, with their maroon-colored Ford work van parked in the church’s driveway.

Osborne said he was working in the basement of the home and Fernald was working on the building’s roof, when around 10:15 a.m. he came up from the basement to help Fernald with something. Osborne said he looked over at the van as he came out of the basement and saw it was on fire.

The homeowner told Osborne and Fernald that there was a garden hose down in the basement, so they got it out and hooked it up.

“We put water to it as fast as we could,” said Osborne.

Stockton Springs Assistant Fire Chief Vern Thompson said Osborne, Fernald and the homeowner were able to put the fire out before emergency personnel got there, but that firefighters checked the vehicle out to make sure the fire was fully extinguished. About 10 firefighters responded, although some were sent back once it was clear the fire had been put out.

Thompson said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but he said it may have started in the dashboard area, because that was one of the most heavily damaged sections of the vehicle.

Osborne said that while driving to Stockton Springs that morning, the vehicle’s air bag notification light came on. Noticing that, Osborne said he had planned to call a mechanic at the end of the day.

“And here we are,” he said, looking at the charred remains of the inside of the van.

The front interior section of the van was almost unrecognizable — the seats were destroyed, and the dashboard, steering column and sides of the doors had some sections of exposed metal, while other areas were covered with melted plastic components.

Although many of their work tools and supplies were damaged or destroyed by the fire, Osborne and Fernald speculated that some of their equipment — especially things that had been stored toward the back of the van — might be salvageable.

Fernald pulled his thermos container from the inside of the van; although it looked a little worse for wear, he said there was coffee still inside it. Osborne ventured a guess that it likely wouldn’t taste too good, though.

The workers said they felt lucky that they were not in the van or driving when the fire broke out, and also because the church and nearby home they were working at were not damaged, either. The van was parked beneath a tree, and the only other damage from the fire seemed to be that some of the leaves directly above the vehicle were a bit singed from the heat.

Although they don’t know for sure that the air bag light had any correlation to the fire — there was some speculation that the light might suggest there was an electrical issue with the van — Osborne had advice for anyone else who has a notification light on in their vehicle.

“I would say get it checked out,” he said.