Fireplace causes Bar Harbor vacation home fire

Posted Oct. 16, 2012, at 3:43 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 16, 2012, at 4:14 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — A group of people staying at a local vacation home escaped injury early Monday morning when an alarm system alerted them to a fire in the basement, according to a local fire department official.

Lyman “Joey” Kane, interim fire Chief for Bar Harbor, said Tuesday that the department got an automated call about smoke detectors going off at the Schooner Head Road property around 2 a.m. Monday. By the time firefighters arrived at the home, he said, all the residents were awake and out of the building.

Firefighters found open flames in the basement where a framing timber under a fireplace on the main floor had caught fire, Kane said. They knocked down the visible flames quickly with a fire extinguisher and then put them out completely with a hose from a fire truck, he said.

Firefighters remained on the scene for hours, however, as they opened up the flooring around the fireplace and some of the nearby walls to make sure the fire had not spread, according to Kane. They were on the scene until about 10 a.m., he said.

“They had a fire going most of the weekend,” Kane said of the people who were staying at the home. The 5,500-square-foot home, owned by Bear Creek Property LLC, is located on a 15-acre waterfront property. The assessed value of the property, including the house and surrounding land, is $3.6 million, according to Bar Harbor’s online assessing database.

Kane said insufficient protection around the base of the fireplace is what led to the fire. The home is insured, he added.

Kane said the home is still habitable but people staying at the house left Monday, as they had been planning to do. He said he did not know where the people are from.

Kane said the early detection system and automated remote alarm helped prevent the fire from causing more damage to the house than it did.

“I credit the detection system,” Kane said. “That made the difference.”

Firefighters from Trenton and Mount Desert provided mutual aid to Bar Harbor firefighters, Kane said.

Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.

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