WOODVILLE, Maine — Three people, 14 cats and dogs and four birds were homeless Saturday after a fire tore through the log cabin they were leasing on Woodville Road late Friday.
Stephen Gilman Jr., his ex-wife Tamralynn Gilman and their 16-year-old daughter, Harley, will stay at the Gateway Motor Inn in Medway for another day thanks to the American Red Cross. They had moved from Lowell on April 1 and plan to move into tents at 976 Woodville Road early next week, Tamralynn Gilman said.
“We are hoping to put in a trailer if we can get one,” Tamralynn Gilman said Saturday. “It is something I would not want to go through again. It is quite devastating to see most everything you own go up in smoke. The important thing is that we are all alive.”
About 15 East Millinocket and Medway firefighters responded, with Mattawamkeag firefighters covering Medway during the emergency, East Millinocket Fire Lt. Paul Brown said. The fire was reported shortly after 11 p.m. Woodville contracts with East Millinocket for police, fire and emergency services.
The Gilmans suffered smoke inhalation and were treated at the scene, Fire Capt. Larlee said.
Firefighters who took about 13 minutes to get to the fire saw what in typical circumstances would have been an unsalvageable situation. Flames had already consumed the back eave of the one-story structure and burned two holes in the roof, Larlee said. But firefighters managed to douse the flames within a few minutes, saving the building from irretrievable damage.
“It being an open structure was the big thing,” Larlee said Saturday. “There were no obstacles, and the family had thrown a lot of furniture out of the house already, which was a big help.”
Harley Gilman alerted her family to the fire when she smelled smoke, Larlee said.
“My daughter and her dad were watching a movie and my daughter saw smoke coming from behind the boards outside,” Gilman said. “You could see the flames outside the house.”
Stephen Gilman tried to douse the fire with an extinguisher and began bringing the family’s largest belongings outside while Harley gathered the pets and Tamralynn dialed 911, she said.
“Stephen is the hero of this. He went in and removed all the combustibles, the mattresses and things,” Tamralynn Gilman said. “He got a little bit burned on his hand and he is a little bit sore today.”
Firefighters suspect that a spark or leak from a wood stove pipe started the fire, Larlee said.
A microwave oven, laptop computer, toaster oven, grill, two beds and camera were among the items saved, Gilman said. She said she is unsure whether she has insurance. Gilman had been arranging coverage the week before the fire, she said.
The property, Larlee and Gilman said, is owned by Treeline Inc. of Lincoln, whose owner, Brian Souers, suffered minor injuries when his airplane left the runway and flipped over at Lincoln Regional Airport on April 1.