Fire destroys elderly couple’s home while they’re out delivering Christmas gifts

Posted Dec. 23, 2011, at 8:36 a.m.

ROQUE BLUFFS, Maine — The comfort of family at Christmas has never meant more to Leon “Bussy” Sinford and his wife Tela, who returned from delivering Christmas presents in Millinocket this week to find their Roque Bluffs home engulfed in flames.

Firefighters from six Down East communities worked overnight to extinguish the blaze, which was reported at about 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19. Responders came from Jonesboro, Jonesport, Machias, Machiasport, Marshfield and Roque Bluffs and were on the scene for 13 hours.

“We put in 10 hours of pumping water,” said Roque Bluffs Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Hanscom. “We nearly succeeded in putting it out five different times, but with balloon construction, the fire worked its way up to the roof. Some of the walls are still there, but the house is pretty much destroyed.”

The fire is thought to have been sparked by electrical wiring in the home’s basement, said Roque Bluffs Fire Chief Michael Schoppee.

The elderly couple displaced by the fire own the Great Cove Golf Course, which surrounds what little is left of their home. The house at 387 Great Cove Road was built over 200 years ago, and Leon, now 77, was born in the living room. The couple is now staying with a daughter who lives nearby.

“They lost just about everything,” son Lee Sinford said. “We’ll make the best of Christmas. At least we’re all still together, and that’s what matters.”

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