Family of seven escapes fire in Pittsfield

Posted Nov. 25, 2008, at 8:52 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Seven members of the Moss family — three adults and four children — narrowly escaped their burning home early Tuesday and the Somerset Avenue house is considered a total loss.

One family member, a 52-year-old woman, was taken by ambulance to Sebasticook Valley Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Other family members later were taken to SVH as a precaution, some by private vehicle, Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams said.

Fire Investigator Kenneth Grimes of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday afternoon that the fire was accidental and caused by an overloaded electrical circuit in the basement.

Williams said the fire was reported at 2:44 a.m. when one of the household members awoke and smelled smoke. “She said she could see fire in the walls and she alerted the rest of the family,” the chief said.

“When we arrived, flames were visible through the front bay window on the ground floor,” Williams said. “Within seconds there was fire visible on the second floor.”

Williams said an attempt was made to rescue two pit bull dogs on the second floor, “but by the time we got a crew ready and up there, it was too late.” He said there was a “huge amount of damage” to the house and all of its contents were lost. No firefighters were injured.

Williams said the family had no insurance on the structure.

The home, under lien by the town of Pittsfield for more than $13,000 in back taxes, was a large Victorian-style home, several stories high and graced with a wrap-around porch.

Firefighters from Pittsfield, Burnham, Detroit, Hartland, St. Albans and Newport went to the fire, and Canaan provided mutual aid at its station.

Williams said the American Red Cross arranged to have the family stay at a local hotel for the next three nights, and a local thrift store, Pennywise, had opened its doors for clothing and other items for the family.

Williams said anyone wishing to make donations to the Moss family should contact the Red Cross.

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