LIVERMORE FALLS — A family of nine lost their home and garage in a wind-swept fire Friday morning, but no one was injured.
Bonny Grant and her seven children escaped before the fire spread to the house at 46 High St. Some of the children, ages 1 to 13, had no socks or shoes on as they watched firefighters from seven towns work on the blaze.
Livermore Falls Fire Chief Gerry Pineau said state fire investigator Chris Stanford and he were calling the cause of the fire undetermined. Pineau said the fire started on the back wall of the garage, and he is pretty confident is related to the use of a light in the garage. Bonny Grant had gone into the garage to look for something earlier in the morning. The light was left on when she went back into the house, Pineau said.
The garage was about a foot away from the house, he said.
“It is a total loss,” Pineau said.
Firefighters fought the blaze from all sides. The closeness of the garage to the house and a strong wind helped spread the fire on, he said.
Christopher Grant said he was at work at Micropix Technologies in Wilton when he received a call from his mother-in-law, Cathy Decker of Farmington Falls. She told him his wife, Bonny, had called the Fire Department and he needed to get home as quickly as possible.
“I was praying all the way home. For the 20 minutes it took to get here, I feared the worst,” Christopher Grant said. “I’m just so thankful the Lord is merciful. It could have been much worse.”
“I was able to get everyone out before the fire spread to the house,” Bonny Grant said. “I didn’t get to grab anything.”
She home-schools their children, Kaili, 13, Josh, 12, Laci, 10, Molly, 7, Nathanael, 5, Ivy, 3, and Hezekiah, 1.
The family has lived at the house off Church Street, also known as Route 133, for about six years, Christopher Grant said. It is insured, he said.
Pineau said the fire was called in at 10:40 a.m.
Livermore Falls firefighter James Butler Jr. was the first on the scene and called in for more mutual aid, Pineau said.
Dozens of firefighters from Livermore Falls, Livermore, Jay, Farmington, Wilton, Wayne and Winthrop responded. Chesterville and Fayette firefighters stood by at the Livermore Falls station and East Dixfield firefighters stood by at North Jay.
The house is in a congested residential area, and with the strong winds fanning the flames, Pineau said, they thought it best to call in several departments.
“It really showed mutual aid is a big help, and everybody did their job,” he said.
Livermore Falls police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Jay police, along with some firefighters’ wives, helped direct traffic around the area.
NorthStar Emergency Medical Service ambulance staff were also on the scene.
The family is staying at the home of Bonny Grant’s parents, Cathy and Steve Decker, in Farmington Falls.
The American Red Cross was called to help the family, Pineau said. There is an initiative to set up fund for the family, he said.
In the meantime, Elaine Smith of Livermore Falls, the director of Treat Memorial Library in that town, said she would be willing to accept donations for the family at the library. It is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The family are frequent visitors to the library, she said. People can also call Smith at the library at 897-3631 or her home phone if they have donations, she said.