Blaze destroys Lee home, leaves woman homeless

Posted April 02, 2010, at 10:54 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

LEE, Maine — A fire destroyed a one-story house on Lee Road on Friday, leaving at least one woman and several pets homeless about a week after another blaze destroyed a small children’s playhouse on the same property, firefighters said.

One firefighter, Alan White of Lee, suffered smoke inhalation and was treated at Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, Fire Chief Jay Crocker said.

The fire, Crocker said, appeared to start in the basement at 3155 Lee Road with what one witness — homeowner Violet Burrill’s daughter, Jessica Burrill — called a loud bang. Smoke immediately started flowing through the first floor, and Jessica Burrill gathered her two infant sons and fled. The flames spread so quickly that the ranch-style house was unsalvageable when firefighters arrived.

“You could see the smoke from the firehouse,” Crocker said Friday. “We had smoke everywhere, fire everywhere. We had flames coming out of all the windows and doors.”

Crocker immediately radioed for help from Lincoln and Springfield firefighters and from the Maine Forest Service, which keeps a large tanker truck in town. The three services and Lee firefighters shuttled water to the scene from a small brook alongside the road a quarter-mile away, Crocker said.

“It was more of a surround-and-drown than anything else,” Crocker said of the fire. “There was no interior work [for firefighters] to do. The house was just too far gone. The floor was collapsed. There wasn’t much we could do to get into the house.”

The fire was reported at about 12:45 p.m. Homeowner Violet Burrill was downtown running errands when it began, Crocker said.

Asked what caused the fire, Crocker referred questions to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Investigator Ed Archer of the fire marshal’s office was at the scene with another investigator on Friday afternoon, Crocker said. Archer could not be reached for comment.

Violet Burrill said the house was insured, Crocker said. He believed the Burrills had sought refuge with relatives.

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