MILLINOCKET, Maine — A fundraising effort is under way for a family of three who lost their home and belongings to fire Thursday night.
The fire at 49 Aroostook Ave. gutted the three-story home owned by Mark and Jean Bulley and their teenage daughter Margaret Smith, who recently moved back to Maine from Iowa, according to Laura Manzo, a family friend who is helping the Bulleys get back on their feet.
Millinocket Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Malcolm said that an investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire began in a dryer and that the house was not insured.
He said that Jean Bulley was the only family member at home when the fire broke out shortly before 8 p.m.
Bulley was stricken by smoke inhalation while trying to rescue the family’s pets and was taken to Millinocket Regional Hospital, where she was treated and then released, Malcolm said.
He said no firefighters were injured and that Millinocket firefirefighters were assisted by crews from East Millinocket. Fire crews remained on scene until about 3:30 a.m. Friday.
Malcolm said the fire was especially difficult to put out because the home had been structurally modified over the years.
“We ended up chasing it all night,” he said.
Malcolm said the Bulleys lost a small dog and four cats in the fire.
“We were able to get one cat out and another one was seen alive” but has not been located, he said.
The family was being put up at the Pamola Motor Lodge on Friday night and then planned to stay with family until Monday while the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross works to find longer range housing for them, according to Romeo Bouchard, a Red Cross worker who is assisting the Bulleys.
Malcolm, who was back at the fire scene later on Friday, said the community was rallying around the family.
“Quite a few people stopped by” to see how they could help, he said. “That’s one of the thing about Millinocket. When somebody needs help, people are there.”
Manzo, who works with Mark Bulley at Big MT Cab in Millinocket, said Friday that the family is in dire need of clothing and toiletries.
Mark Bulley’s sizes are 4X-5X for tops, 44-inch waist for pants and size 12 for shoes, Manzo said.
Jean Bulley is seeking size 38 jeans, preferably men’s styles, extra large tops and size 8 shoes, while Margaret needs pants in size 16, extra large tops and size 8 shoes, Manzo said.
Manzo said Big MT Cab is willing to pick items up. Call 723-2000 to make arrangements.
Monetary contributions also are needed, Manzo said. She said that Big MT Cab is maintaining donation canisters and that donations also can be dropped off at Katahdin Federal Credit Union on Central Street.
Manzo said additional fundraisers are in the works.