June 20, 2018
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Man charged after brush fire spreads out of control, destroys Sedgwick woodshop

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

SEDGWICK, Maine — A brush fire Wednesday morning spread out of his control and eventually consumed a woodshop at 77 Doe Circle in Sedgwick.

The owner, Don Reiman, was issued a summons by the Maine Forest Rangers for burning without a permit.

Firefighters from Sedgwick, Blue Hill, Brooksville and Brooklin responded, but by the time they arrived all they could do was contain the fire.

“I was the first one on the scene, and when I got here the building was already fully involved,” said Sedgwick Fire Chief David Carter.

Firefighters were initially impeded by a power line that had gone down and was arcing, Carter said.

Don Reiman was stoic as he watched firefighters turn their hose on the smouldering debris that was his woodshop. He said he was burning brush about 25 feet from the 12-by-20 building when the fire “got away.”

The fire department, who was able to contain the fire, sparing Reiman’s home just 100 yards or so away.

No one was hurt in the fire, and Reiman said nothing was in the shop but a bunch of firewood.

“The only other person around was my cat,” he said.

Reiman owns West Sedgwick Builders, a remodeling and carpentry company, out of his Doe Circle Home. He said he has insurance, which should cover the cost of rebuilding his shop.

The charge of burning without a permit carries a potential $100 fine plus the cost of the firefighting effort.

Maine Forest Ranger John Cousins investigated the fire and said Reiman told him that he thought he had extinguished the brush fire when he went to visit with a neighbor. When Reiman returned home, Cousins said, the shop was on fire.

Cousins said this was the 52nd wildfire in the Downeast District, which encompasses a line from Calais to Brewer and down the coast, since Jan. 1.

“We’ve had a long period of wet weather,” Cousins said Wednesday afternoon. “People have become complacent and it takes a few fires for people to become cautious again.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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