May 24, 2018
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Candle sparked house fire in Brunswick

Courtesy of Brunswick Fire Department
Courtesy of Brunswick Fire Department
Flames shoot from a building on McKeen Street in Brunswick as fire crews arrive. No one was home and no injuries resulted from the blaze, according to Brunswick Fire Chief Ken Brillant.
By Darcie Moore, Times Record

BRUNSWICK, Maine — A candle caused a two alarm fire that heavily damaged a home at 156 McKeen St. on Wednesday afternoon, according to fire investigators.

The fire was reported at 1:59 p.m. Wednesday, according to Brunswick Fire Chief Ken Brillant, who said crews finally cleared the scene at around 4:20 p.m.

Brillant said neither of the home’s occupants, Tammy Paulmiter and Robert Babbitt, were home at the time flames broke out. A passer-by reported the blaze.

Firefighters responding to the two-story building found the first floor in front of the building heavily involved in flames. They determined that the fire was spreading to the second floor.

Upon arriving, fire crews also observed a car in the driveway but didn’t know if anyone was inside the burning structure. Firefighters extinguished the fire and ventilated the building so they could get in and do a search to make sure everyone was out.

They didn’t find anyone and Brillant said, “After we’d been there a few minutes, come to find out the occupants started arriving,” on scene. He believed they were out running errands separately at the time the fire started.

Brillant said firefighters knocked down flames and, after extinguishing a hidden fire in a crawl space, declared the fire under control by about 2:30 p.m.

Heavy smoke remained, as fire crews secured the scene. Firefighters lugged axes and chain saws up ladders and cut holes in the roof to help move smoke and heat up out of the building.

The building sustained “a ton of damage,” due not only to fire but also heat and smoke, Brillant said.

Brunswick police and fire departments finished their investigation into the cause of the fire Wednesday night, determining it started in the living room due to a candle.

No one was hurt as a result of the fire. Brunswick, Freeport, Topsham and West Bath fire departments were at the scene of the fire, Brillant said. Bath and Durham departments and a Topsham ladder truck covered the station.

Police blocked traffic on McKeen Street, causing backup and congestion along many downtown Brunswick streets.

The Brunswick assessing department lists Robert Babbitt as the owner of the structure, and assessor Cathleen Donovan this morning estimated that the house is worth about $182,900.

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