Harrison fire leaves six homeless

Posted Feb. 12, 2011, at 12:31 p.m.

HARRISON, Maine — Fire consumed a home on Cape Monday Road on Friday afternoon leaving a family of six homeless and their dog missing.

No one was hurt, but a family dog was in the house when fire erupted in the home of Jeff and Autumn Worster, destroying the 24- by 32-foot, two-story, wood frame Gambrel-style home that was set back in the woods from the road.

Town Manager George “Bud” Finch, who was a longtime fire chief in Wells, said the fire was discovered by one of the children as she was being dropped off from school about 3 p.m. Friday. According to Finch, the unidentified girl got off the bus and went to open the door of the house and saw heavy smoke.

Finch said the girl, who was identified by a family friend as being in junior high school, opened the door but did not enter the house and closed the door and immediately called 911 for help.

He said the flames just exploded after the door had been opened and the house was exposed to fresh oxygen. The town manager said he did not know whether the girl had a cell phone or called from a neighbor’s home.

The house was engulfed in flames when the firefighters arrived, he said.

“It was just shocking,” said Woody Merrill, the uncle of Jeff Worster who has lived in the home for about 12 years with his wife and their children who ranged in age from 5 to middle school age.

Merrill, who lives next door to the Worsters, said he was driving down Cape Monday, which leads from Route 35 to Long Lake, when he saw heavy smoke but he was not sure at first what was one fire. His house, the one his nephew lives in, and his brothers’ houses are situated next to each other on the road.

“It was scary. The hair on my neck was standing up,” Merrill said as he watched dozens of firefighters from six towns including Harrison, Naples, Bridgton, Sebago, Norway and Waterford try to douse the flames.

Merrill said his nephew had taken the children to a nearby home to warm up. Offers for housing have already been given to the family, he said

In addition to the fire departments on the scene, Paris covered the Norway station and United Ambulance was on standby at the scene. Central Maine Power responded to cut power lines to the house.

“The fire departments did an excellent job,” Finch said. This is the fourth fire this week that largely volunteer firefighters have responded to. A downtown Norway business, a home in Otisfield and a garage in Bridgton were also destroyed this week by fire.

Water was pumped from a small pond at the head of Cape Monday Road into tankers to help fight the flames.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright (c) 2011, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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