Plumbing work called likely cause of Palmyra fire

By Christopher Cousins, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 07, 2010, at 1:41 p.m.

PALMYRA, Maine — An intense and fast-moving fire destroyed a vacant mobile home at 4 Clark Road on Tuesday, engulfing the structure in flames before fire crews arrived at the scene.

Hartland Volunteer Fire Department Chief Donald Neal said he knew there was no chance of saving the structure when he arrived to find the front of it burning and fire spouting through a hole in the roof.

Using water trucked to the scene, crews were able to extinguish the noontime fire within about 10 minutes, he said. No one was injured, but the home was a total loss.

“Once we were able to get inside, it went quick,” said Neal, adding that he had plenty of water and firefighters. “In a building like this, that’s all metal on the outside. It’s hard to get water on it.”

Gary Batchelder, who owns the mobile home, said tenants had moved out about a week ago and he had been doing some repairs in preparation for new ones.

Batchelder said he had been soldering pipes beneath the home’s kitchen sink Tuesday morning before he went to the Hartland post office. That’s when a neighbor called his cell phone and told him about the fire.

“She was gone,” said Batchelder, referring to what he found when he returned to the property, which he has owned for about 13 years. Batchelder said he had only minimal insurance that covered tenants’ belongings. He estimated his losses at around $5,000.

Crews from Hartland, St. Albans and Pittsfield responded to the fire call. Palmyra does not have its own fire department.

Asked what his plans for the property are, Batchelder said, “It’s too early to tell.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/09/07/news/plumbing-work-called-likely-cause-of-palmyra-fire/ printed on September 30, 2014