June 24, 2018
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Neighbor quickly extinguishes Bangor house fire

Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN
Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN
Elm Street resident Joe Sewell put out a fire next door after his son saw it burning on Sunday, July 24, 2011. Sewell only said, "Hi" to his neighbor Jim Green and family as they arrived to survey the damage and speak to fire officials.
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — When asked how long he had been a firefighter, Elm Street resident Joe Sewell blushed, then chuckled and responded, “This is my first time.”

He had just finished lunch with his three sons on Sunday when his oldest, 10-year-old Isaac, went to the sink with his dirty dish.

“He said, ‘Geez dad, there’s a big fire on the backside of the building next door,” the elder Sewell said. “Luckily, I had a 100-foot hose” that reached around his house to where the fire was burning.

Sewell called 911, grabbed the hose and turned on the water and in that short amount of time the exterior house fire next door at 53 Elm St. had grown exponentially.

“It was amazing how fast it spread,” he said.

His sons Isaac, Alex and Oliver watched their dad save the house next door from inside the house.

Smoke was showing when Bangor firefighters arrived at around 1:30 p.m. but no fire thanks for Sewell’s efforts, Fire Assistant Chief Darrel Cyr said Sunday.

“The tenant [next door] was putting water on it from the other side of the fence,” he said.

The backside of the burning building, which is owned by Jim Green, had fire damage to the steps and siding, Cyr said. What caused the fire was not immediately known, he said.

Bangor fire responded to two fires in the span of 18 hours — the minor Elm Street conflagration and one on Roger Street that happened Saturday night.

A person who lives on Roger Street saw smoke Saturday night coming from a neighbor’s home and called for firefighters who were able to save the home.

Bangor firefighters arrived at 20 Roger St. at around 8 p.m. and saw light smoke, Cyr said .

“We made entry [and] most of the fire was in the kitchen area, especially above the cabinets,” he said. “The fire was in the ceiling as well. It was a quick knockdown.”

Fire investigators found the cause of the fire in the adjacent laundry room, the assistant chief said.

“It appears the issue might have been an electrical problem with the laundry room light circuit,” Cyr said.

No one was at home when the fire broke out and no injuries were reported, he said.

Cyr did not know the name of the homeowner. He said the quick response by firefighters prevented the fire from spreading outside the kitchen to other parts of the home.

“The crews did and outstanding job,” Cyr said.

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