2012-04-06 / Front Page

Blaze destroys home

8 departments respond to Topsham three-alarm fire
BY BETH BROGAN Times Record Staff

Firefighters douse hot spots during the aftermath of a blaze that destroyed a home on Route 196 in Topsham on Thursday afternoon. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record) Firefighters douse hot spots during the aftermath of a blaze that destroyed a home on Route 196 in Topsham on Thursday afternoon. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record) TOPSHAM — Flames consumed a prominent colonial home on Lewiston Road on Thursday afternoon, drawing some 60 firefighters from eight area departments to quell the blaze.

The Topsham Fire Department responded just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday to the three-story home at 1133 Lewiston Road (Route 196), where the fire had apparently ignited on a porch, Topsham Fire Chief Brian Stockdale said at the scene.

“When we got here, the front part of the building was fully involved, with fire inside of the building at that time,” he said. “The biggest issue was water supply.”

Stockdale said strong winds fanned the flames, adding to the risk. Mustering volunteer and call mutual aid firefighters from surrounding communities also proved a challenge, Stockdale said.

Flames eat away at what’s left of the frame of the fire-ravaged residence. (Beth Brogan / The Times Record)Flames eat away at what’s left of the frame of the fire-ravaged residence. (Beth Brogan / The Times Record)He estimated it took crews about 30 minutes to get the fire under control. Crews remained on scene doing salvage and overhaul operations and checking for any hot spots until roughly 4:30 p.m.

Police closed a portion of Lewiston Road (Route 196) and diverted traffic around the fire scene for much of the afternoon.

A male and female resident were home at the time the fire was reported, and both got out safely, along with a cat and dog.

According to municipal records, the home and adjacent 20 acres, assessed at $510,000, were sold on May 31, 2011, to Eric Humes.

At least 75 percent of the home was destroyed, Stockdale said.

No injuries were reported.

Stockdale said this morning that the cause of the fire is officially undetermined due to the extent of damage, but fire investigators suspect it started from a bucket full of ash left on a porch.

Strong winds complicated firefighting and cleanup for crews from eight fire departments that responded to a threealarm fire at a home at 1133 Lewiston Road (Route 196) in Topsham on Thursday.  (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)Strong winds complicated firefighting and cleanup for crews from eight fire departments that responded to a threealarm fire at a home at 1133 Lewiston Road (Route 196) in Topsham on Thursday. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)Firefighters, tankers and engines from Lisbon, Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Durham, Freeport and West Bath also responded to the scene, while West Bath provided station coverage for Topsham.

According to Stockdale, the owner did have fire insurance.

While firefighters were dealing with this blaze, they received a medical call and a call for a brush fire on Meadow Road, which Stockdale said was quickly put out by one of the mutual aid fire departments and resulted in very little damage.

At around 7 p.m., another brush fire was reported in the area of Bickford Drive behind Woodside Elementary School. Firefighters put out the fire but returned a few hours later for a brush fire in a different area. Stockdale said that blaze was likely caused by an ember from the previous blaze.

Firefighters secure the scene.  (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)Firefighters secure the scene. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)The Maine Fire Service issued a red flag warning for most of the state Thursday, all weather zones were listed at a high, class 3 potential fire danger.

Staff writer Darcie Moore contributed to this report.

bbrogan@timesrecord.com

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