HOWLAND, Maine — Winds that blew smoke almost horizontally drove a fire that destroyed a Penobscot Avenue garage and might have leveled at least one nearby house had not firefighters quickly doused it, Fire Chief Phil Dawson said Tuesday.
The fire on Monday destroyed the garage, a sedan parked inside, and burned into an adjacent kitchen wall of Emmett and Holly Mailman’s house at 4 Penobscot Ave. before a dozen Howland volunteer firefighters stopped it, Dawson said.
The fire also threatened two other nearby houses, including one owned by Dawson’s father, before it was under control. Dawson said he believed it might have scorched the siding on at least one other dwelling.
“The guys made a good stop. They took down part of the outside wall to do it,” Dawson said.
“With a fire that was that close [to other structures] and generating that much heat, the guys did a really great job. The heat was pretty intense.”
No injuries were reported.
The fire was reported at 8:45 a.m. Monday. When firefighters arrived several minutes later, it already had burned through much of the garage, and smoke was so thick that it obscured the view Dawson had as he sped in his vehicle across the Penobscot River bridge, he said.
“The garage went down pretty quickly,” he said.
A dozen Howland firefighters responded to the call, as did four or five Seboeis volunteer firefighters — an excellent turnout for all-volunteer departments, Dawson said. The Lincoln Fire Department, of which Dawson also is chief, also responded.
Dawson estimated that the winds were blowing steadily at 20 to 25 mph.
The fire did not appear to be of suspicious origin. Dawson said that the State Fire Marshal’s Office was notified and would be investigating, but a supervisor at that office said no one had been called.