Cause of fire that destroyed Levant home undetermined

Posted Jan. 30, 2012, at 1:53 p.m.

LEVANT, Maine — A fire that broke out Sunday afternoon in the home of two local firefighters and the department’s chaplain destroyed the Wing Road house while the family was away, Fire Chief Alan Merchant said Monday.

The only good news is the family’s 20-pound black Siamese-tabby cat, Eightball, made it out alive, said homeowner Kassandra Vincent.

“He took off across the back field and we haven’t seen him since,” she said on Monday.

The exact cause of the fire that took the home of Vincent and her husband, Doug, may never be known. Their son, Tyler, stays at the house, and he and his father are both firefighters, the fire chief said. She is the chaplain for fire department.

The cause is “undetermined due to the extent of the damage,” Sgt. Tim York of the state fire marshal’s office said Monday.

A neighbor noticed the fire and called for help at around 3 p.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived the “downstairs was completely, fully involved,” Merchant said. “The bottom half of [the] two-story house was burning. It was heavily involved in the back side of the house.”

The Vincents all heard the news of the fire at the same time and Doug Vincent was the first to arrive home, Merchant said.

“He had his pager on and came right out,” the chief said.

Vincent, who is a firetruck driver for the department, was in shock, Merchant said, adding, “I would be, too.”

Kassandra Vincent was visiting a friend when she heard her home address given on the pager.

“I went numb,” she said Monday. “I went completely numb and started shaking.”

After having a day to recover, “they’re doing all right,” Merchant said of the family.

“It’s definitely not suspicious,” the fire chief said. “We’re quite sure it was electrical. We believe it started in the closet” of a first-floor bedroom.

Firefighters from eight area communities arrived at the scene to help, and one visiting firefighter slipped on the ice and hurt his knee, the fire chief said.

Firefighters returned on Monday to help pump water out of the basement while insurance agents documented the damage, Kassandra Vincent said.

“My husband and I are deeply grateful for the service they provided for us and continue to provide for us,” she said of the firefighters. “We’re very blessed. It’s strange being on this side of things.”