June 24, 2018
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Woman’s Ludlow home catches fire after she deploys ‘bug bombs’

By Joseph Cyr, Houlton Pioneer Times

LUDLOW, Maine — A Ludlow woman was left homeless last week after fire destroyed her 262 White Road home.

Jami Cass reported hearing a small explosion in her house shortly after 10 a.m. on Aug. 29, according to Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone. Cass had reportedly set off two pest-control smoke bombs in the basement of her home and was about to do another on the second floor when she heard a “a couple of small explosions.”

“When she came down the stairs, she noticed fire along the floor level of the first floor,” Cone said. “She immediately got out of the house and called 911.”

By the time firefighters arrived, the home was fully involved and unable to be saved. A nearby chicken barn was spared and none of the animals were hurt, Cone said. Several animals in the house also were saved.

Four fire engines and 20 firefighters responded to the blaze. Since the dwelling was located in an area where there are no fire hydrants, lack of water was an issue.

“It’s always a challenge with water supply in rural areas,” Cone said. “We dispatched our pump tank and shuttled water from Louisiana Pacific’s hydrants. We have been very fortunate to have them allow us to use their water source.”

A propane tank, which provided heat and cooking for Cass’ residence, also posed a challenge as firefighters took extra effort to make sure that tank did not explode.

Cone said that while “bug bombs” are both relatively safe and common to use in homes, there are some precautions that should be taken when using such devices.

“Anything that is an aerosol type of material can be flammable,” he said. “I am not sure that the fire was a result of the aerosol can itself, though. The fire may have been propane [related] in nature. It’s impossible to say for certain.”

Because of the vast amount of damage to the home, determining the ignition source was unlikely, Cone said. Firefighters cleared the scene at 2 p.m. The dwelling was insured.

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