PASSADUMKEAG, Maine — A chimney fire Thursday night in a house across the street from the fire station turned into a fireball that couldn’t be controlled and tore through the home, destroying it, an emergency medical technician said.
“When I got there it was fully involved,” Valeri Beers, an EMT with Passadumkeag Volunteer Fire Department, said Friday. “It really lit everything up.”
The fire was reported about 10:20 p.m. by homeowner Marie Lodge’s adult son Mark, who was concerned about the stovepipe being red-hot, Passadumkeag Fire Chief Brent Faloon said Friday night. Lodge was told to leave the house, which he did. Marie Lodge was not home at the time.
“It was pretty evident that it began around a manufactured chimney,” Faloon said, adding that the chimney heated to the point where it ignited the roof space and quickly spread through the two-story wood frame house, which he said was about 100 years old.
Beers said Thursday night’s extreme cold created problems battling the flames.
“It was so cold last night that one of the trucks froze up completely,” she said. “It was so cold, things kept freezing. Our gloves were frozen.”
In addition to the cold, snowbanks around the home made attacking the fire from certain areas difficult, and the fire also burned power lines attached to the home, which created a safety concern for firefighters.
Firefighters had to wait until Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. personnel were called to cut the power, Beers said.
After the fire was extinguished early Friday morning, “the walls were gone. It’s completely destroyed,” she said.
“It went fast,” Faloon said.
Firefighters from Greenbush assisted Passadumkeag crews and no injuries were reported.
Faloon said that the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross was assisting the Lodges, who were put up Thursday night at the Black Bear Inn in Orono.
Faloon said he had not heard whether the house was insured.
BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.