June 23, 2018
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Crews from 13 communities gather to put out Etna blaze

By Nick McCrea and Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

ETNA, Maine — Firefighters from 13 communities knocked down a blaze at 289 West Etna Road on Wednesday during what the deputy chief called one of the most widespread responses to a structure fire in the town’s history.

A neighbor and someone driving by the two-story home called 911 about 10:30 a.m. Monday to report the flames, a dispatcher from Penobscot Regional Communications Center said.

Firefighters from Etna, Plymouth, Newport, Dixmont, Hermon, Levant, Carmel, Pittsfield, St. Albans, Detroit and other towns responded to calls for aid as intense flames tore through the building on a warm day.

“When we first got there, there was smoke coming out of every part of the building,” Deputy Fire Chief Aaron Brown said late Monday afternoon.

Crews were called out from 13 communities because of concerns about heat exhaustion from the day’s heat and the fact that some firefighters had little rest between the fire in Etna and the response to an early morning fire in Carmel.

Brown said Etna firefighters only had a one-hour respite between fires.

“They were already exhausted, so you pretty much had to have a fresh group every time you went in,” Brown said.

One female firefighter from Etna suffered heat exhaustion and was treated in an ambulance and later transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center. She has since been released, according to Brown.

Brown thanked Etna Village Variety for donating nine cases of water and thanked other community members who came out in support of firefighters during the hot day.

Members of the Carmel Firefighters Auxiliary came to the scene with ice cream to help fire crews cool down.

Nobody was home when the fire broke out and neighbors notified the residents of the fire over the phone, according to Brown. The assistant chief said he didn’t know if the family had insurance.

Brown said the building likely was a total loss.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office could not be reached Friday evening to identify the cause of the fire.

BDN photographer Kevin Bennett contributed to this report.

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