Milford firefighters battle house fire, live power line

Posted Oct. 26, 2011, at 12:56 p.m.

MILFORD, Maine — A live power line that had burned off a house on Call Road that caught fire late Tuesday night was spitting out sparks when firefighters arrived, making the fire scene even more dangerous, Fire Chief Chris Matson said Wednesday.

Firefighters also didn’t know if everyone in the home, including two young children, had made it out safely, he said, describing the scene as very hectic.

“It was spitting and sparking,” Matson said of the live wire. “It didn’t stop us completely, but we had to work around it.”

Shortly after arriving, firefighters learned that the family of four had escaped the burning home, which was destroyed in the fire.

Call Road was closed to traffic while firefighters battled the blaze, which was reported by the homeowner and neighbors at around 10:15 p.m. A Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. crew arrived about 30 minutes later to turn off power to the two-story home.

When firefighters arrived, “the front part of the home was fully involved in fire,” Matson said. “It was a very fast-moving fire.”

Homeowner Sarah Jarvis shared the home with her two children, ages 4 and 6, and Mark Rider.

“She actually was woken up by the sound of the fire, glass breaking, and noticed the smoke,” Matson said.

She and Rider got the children and exited the home safely, the fire chief said, adding, “They were pretty shaken up.”

The house was insured, he said.

Firefighters from Milford and Old Town knocked down the fire in about 30 minutes, but they were unable to salvage the home, Matson said.

“The house is standing, but it has extensive fire damage in the front part and extensive smoke and heat damage in the rest of the house,” the fire chief said.

A space heater that was being used on the first floor is believed to have caused the blaze, said Matson, noting that homeowners need to be careful with portable heaters.

“Limit the use of space heaters to only when it’s absolutely necessary,” the fire chief said. “Make sure they’re only used to manufacturer specifications. Don’t allow combustibles near the devices and don’t leave them unattended.

“As we’re coming into the heating season, it’s also important to make sure you have working smoke detectors” and to check home heating systems to make sure they are operating correctly, Matson added.

Firefighters cleared the scene at around 1:30 a.m. but “we had someone on scene keeping an eye on it until about 3:30 this morning,” the fire chief said.

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