GREENBUSH, Maine — Resident Robbie Nason was driving up Route 2 toward his home with his daughter in the passenger seat on Wednesday evening when they drove by a yellow farmhouse and “something just didn’t look right.”
“You could see smoke coming out of the chimney, but around all the eaves of the house there was smoke coming out of them,” Nason said. “I walked up to the door and you could feel the heat. If you looked in the house you could see the flames.”
Another couple that stopped at the house, located at 657 Main Road, also known as Route 2, called emergency 911 at 5:20 p.m., and Nason called the fire station.
While standing in the driveway, “The back window blew out and it [the fire] got air and got going,” he said.
The water used to fight the blaze came from the Penobscot River across the road, Greenbush Fire Chief Donald Burr said Thursday. Route 2 was closed to traffic for about five hours, he said.
“We inconvenienced a whole pile of people,” he said. “Unfortunately, there wasn’t a better solution. We didn’t reopen the road until around 10:30 p.m. We want people to know we appreciate their patience.”
Deputies from Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department set up roadblocks, and Maine Department of Transportation crews laid down salt to ensure firefighters could walk safely around the area, Burr said.
Ten minutes after fire crews from Greenbush, Milford, Passadumkeag and Bradley arrived, firefighters came out of the house with two dogs, Nason said.
“They were soaking wet,” he said.
One of the dogs was a little white “mop dog” and the second was a yellow Lab, Nason said. They were put in his warm truck, and his daughter, Libby, gave them names.
“She named the dogs Lucky and Hero,” he said.
When firefighters arrived, “they had heavy fire showing,” Milford fire Lt. Keenan Gosslin said Thursday.
Without knowing whether anyone was home, firefighters entered the building to do a search, and that is when the dogs were found. The homeowners were away, but three cats were killed in the blaze.
“Part of the roof is gone, over the center portion,” Gosslin said, adding that the structure “is pretty well-gutted. I’d call it a total loss.”
Firefighters were able to recover some firearms from the home for the homeowners, who returned while firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, he said. The couple reportedly had insurance, but their names were not available by press time.
The cause of the fire is unknown and probably will not be known until after Monday, Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, said from the scene Thursday.
“We have to have the oil and solid fuel board come check” the heating and cooking system, he said. “It’s under investigation at this point in time.”
A woman who called Nason looking for her dogs, “said she lost all their presents and all her holiday cooking.”