Etna: Family of five loses home in fire

Posted Aug. 27, 2008, at 8:32 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 7:25 a.m.

ETNA, Maine — An early morning fire that swept through a mobile home and displaced a family of five may have been caused by one of the children’s medical equipment.

Etna Fire Chief Walter Gibbons said Wednesday afternoon that the fire’s cause was undetermined, but he believed it started in the bedroom of 13-year-old Patrick Graves, who has cerebral palsy.

“We don’t know for sure, but the room had a number of electrical appliances and medical equipment, so we think that’s likely the cause,” he said. “The [State] Fire Marshal’s Office will make an official determination.”

Rhonda Graves, the boy’s mother, said she was just about to leave with her son about 8 a.m. Wednesday when a contractor who was doing work on the home noticed smoke.

“Most of the inside has heavy smoke and water damage, but we were able to salvage some things,” Graves said by telephone late Wednesday morning.

Graves, whose two other children, 5-year-old Kalen and 10-year-old Rylee, had left for their first day of school, said her family’s home would not be rebuilt.

“We have been building a new house anyway, but we weren’t supposed to move in until next spring,” she said. “That might be sooner now.”

The mobile home on Ball Mill Road in Etna was insured, Graves said. In the meantime, the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross has been called to assist the family.

Gibbons said firefighters from Carmel, Stetson and Plymouth assisted at the scene and did well to knock down the flames. Graves said her husband, Adam Graves, and her father-in-law, who lives nearby, tried to put out the flames until crews arrived.

“They may have bought us a few extra minutes,” the fire chief said.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and was taken to a local hospital, Gibbons said.

“She didn’t want to go, but we thought it was a good idea to make sure she was OK,” he said.

Rhonda Graves said she was glad no one was harmed in the fire and happy to salvage some items from the home, particularly for her 10-year-old daughter.

“The boys don’t care as much, but she likes her things,” the mother said.

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