Howland fire destroys home of retired couple

Posted Aug. 26, 2009, at 8:17 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:13 p.m.

HOWLAND, Maine — Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office are looking into the cause of a fire that leveled the single-story ranch-style home of a retired couple on the River Road in Howland on Tuesday night.

Fire crews from Howland, Lincoln and Seboeis spent four hours battling the fire that destroyed the home of Ernest and Waunita Robinson.

“It was fully involved on arrival,” said Howland Volunteer Fire Chief Phil Dawson. The fire was reported to Penobscot County Dispatch at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

No firefighters were injured.

The owners were out of town when the fire happened, Dawson said.

Dawson said conditions were dangerous once the firefighters began battling the fire.

“The floor was unsafe, as was the structure over our heads,” he said. “We did what we could to put it down. It took us about four and half hours once we got in.”

Dawson said the fire caused the roof to collapse, which made battling the blaze difficult. Firefighters had to chase the flames around the perimeter of the buckled structure.

The fire was contained around midnight.

“The house was a total loss by that time,” he said.

Firefighters returned to the scene around 3 a.m. when they received a call that the fire had been rekindled.

Dawson said it is common to leave the scene with embers burning.

“We thought we had it pretty well extinguished; we knew we had embers still,” Dawson said.

Firefighters left the scene around 5 a.m., he said.

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