DEXTER, Maine — Ashes from a wood stove are being blamed for the fire Friday morning at the Shore Road house where Amy Lake and her children were killed in June by her estranged husband, who also killed himself.
The Dexter Fire Department went to the scene of the fire at 9:30 a.m.
“It started on the outside — something on the backside of the house,” said Assistant Fire Chief Matt Connor.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office said ashes from a wood stove likely started the fire, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.
“Fire investigators say ashes from the wood stove were disposed of outside the house and likely started leaves and grass on fire, which spread to the building,” McCausland said in a press release. “No one was injured and quick action by firefighters stopped the fire [from] causing significant damage to the two-story house.”
The Maine Forest Service was asked to assist investigators because the fire started outside the home.
“We had a second look at it,” said Forest Ranger Sgt. Matt Gomes. “We put all our heads together. [The fire marshals] had some thoughts prior to us getting there and kept it to themselves until we had a look at it and we all came to the same conclusion.”
A bystander alerted the occupants.
“Somebody walking by saw the fire and knocked on the door and told [the tenant],” said Connor.
The house had been redone since the murders and a new family is renting it, Connor said.
“We were here pretty quick. It was a good stop, a very good stop,” said Connor.
He said the house is still habitable. The fire reached the attic, but fire crews stopped the blaze within 10 minutes, he said.
The Corinna and Sangerville fire departments assisted.
Steven Lake shot and killed his wife, Amy, and their children, Monica, 12, and Coty, 13, before killing himself on June 13 at the home.
BDN writer Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this report.