2 die of smoke inhalation in Searsport house fire

Posted Feb. 16, 2009, at 10:18 p.m.

SEARSPORT, Maine — Two people were killed when their Porter Street home caught fire early Monday.

Killed in the fire were Eli LaPointe, 80, and Megan Senter, 28. Senter was LaPointe’s stepdaughter and also served as his caregiver.

The fire in the white ranch-style house at 14 Porter St. was reported to the Waldo County Communications Center at 6:15 a.m. Firefighters from Searsport and the surrounding communities of Stockton Springs, Belfast, Prospect and West Frankfort went to the scene and extinguished the fire within an hour.

State Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire was caused by an electrical power strip that was covered with clothing and overheated.

The bodies were found by firefighters shortly after entering the building. LaPointe was found on the floor in his bedroom, and Senter was found seated in a living room recliner. Both died of smoke inhalation.

The Fire Marshal’s Office also reported that the home had three smoke detectors, but that the batteries had been removed from every one of them.

“Both victims were on one end of the building and the fire was at the opposite end,” McCausland said. “With a smoke detector, they would have had at least a chance to get out of there.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

wgriffin@bangordailynews.net

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