LEE, Maine — Firefighters could do little to extinguish an early Monday morning fire at a mobile home on Richardson Farm Road that flattened the home and took everything inside, the homeowner and Lee Fire Chief Jay Crocker said.
Firefighters had been at the home just after 10 p.m. Sunday, then returned around 2:45 a.m. Monday, Crocker said.
“We had what he thought was a chimney fire [on Sunday], but it turned out to be a plugged spark arrester in the chimney,” the chief said. “It was on fire.”
Firefighters put that fire out, but were called back to the scene about four hours later.
“The snow truck went by and she was on fire,” Crocker said of the structure. “We don’t know how it started.”
The property is owned by Mike LaFountain, who works at Lincoln Paper & Tissue and who is watching a property in Mattawamkeag where he had been staying with his wife, Louanne, and daughter, Amie, 18. His son, Ryan LaFountain, 25, was staying at the mobile home with his two dogs.
“I’m glad I talked him into going with me,” after the earlier chimney fire, Mike LaFountain said. “He was going to go back in and go to sleep.”
His son took his dogs with him when he left for Mattawamkeag.
Snowplow driver Buzzy Gill called the Fire Department, but “within a few minutes it was collapsing,” LaFountain said. “I’m just glad everybody was out. We don’t have insurance, but there are a lot of things to be thankful for.”
The home is completely gone, LaFountain said.
“It’s flat,” he said. “It’s totally devastating. It’s unbelievable.”
Lost in the blaze were birth certificates and other official documents, a couple of guitars and other band equipment, “a pretty good gun collection,” clothing and Christmas presents, LaFountain said.
“We just got paid last week and went Christmas shopping,” he said.
The presents were in the back bedroom, because his granddaughter has been visiting the Mattawamkeag house the family is watching and, “we didn’t want her seeing nothing,” LaFountain said.
Even though the presents are gone, the Christmas spirit has not been lost.
“That’s stuff’s minor,” LaFountain said. “I don’t care about stuff. There are a lot of families worse off. I’m just thankful I got a job and my family is alive.”