Fire destroys 200-year-old residence, leaves North Berwick couple homeless

Posted March 30, 2012, at 9:09 a.m.

NORTH BERWICK, Maine — An early morning fire destroyed a 200-year-old home on Thursday, leaving a couple homeless.

According to Eileen and John Steves, the homeowners of 173 Ford Quint Road, the fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. John was heading to the bathroom when he noticed the smoke and was able to escape the building before the flames consumed the home.

Eileen was at work at the time of the fire and “beat the fire trucks” to her home shortly before 3 a.m.

Eileen estimates the home is unlivable and classified it as “destroyed.”

Fire crews cleared the scene around 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, leaving behind charred memories from almost three generations of Steveses.

After crews left the scene, their children and their spouses helped the Eileen and John pack up the remaining food into Tupperware containers to be moved next door to one of their children’s houses.

As they loaded a pickup truck with food, the family walked by remnants of their home — a tarnished rocking chair with broken rungs, rusted wagon wheels leaning up against the blackened siding of the house and a path of burned and broken wooden planks leading from the home’s front door to the middle of the lawn.

According to Eileen, not only did she raise her four children in the home, but John’s father and grandfather also lived in the home.

“It’s just horrible,” said Eileen. “Absolutely sickening.”

Crews from North Berwick, Lebanon, Rollinsford, South Berwick, Berwick, Wells, Sanford and a Somersworth air van responded to the scene. Eliot Fire provided station coverage.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Larry Straffin, the fire was the equivalent of a two-alarm blaze and took crews almost four hours to get under control.

Straffin said no one from the home was injured, though a firefighter was slightly injured after stepping on a nail.

The fire is believed to have started somewhere near the wood stove.

© 2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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