ELLSWORTH, Maine — A fire of unknown origin destroyed a two-story home in Ellsworth on Thursday afternoon, leaving the family that lived there safe but homeless.
Firefighters from Ellsworth arrived at the blaze at 155 Stackpole Way around 2:30 p.m., after homeowner Dayton Arey arrived home from work and discovered the fire.
“I came home and opened the door,” said a rain-drenched Arey on Thursday, standing at the head of his driveway with his shaken wife, Heidi. “There was black smoke billowing out.”
From the nearby North Bend Road, motorists could see black-and-white smoke rising high into the sky. By the time firefighters arrived, the home was consumed in flames.
Firefighters tried to drench the blaze with hoses, but by around 3 p.m., the roof collapsed with a loud, creaking moan. When it did, an electrical wire was severed and large white sparks shot down to the ground below, preventing firefighters from effectively battling the inferno.
Firefighters had to come at the fire from the side of the house opposite the live wire until a crew from Bangor Hydro was on scene to disconnect power from the transformer at the head of the Areys’ driveway. By then, there was nothing left of the house but a blackened frame.
Fire crews from Lamoine, Surry, Orland, Trenton and Hancock assisted Ellsworth, as well as County Ambulance.
Ellsworth firefighter Bobby Dorr said crews would stay on scene until the blaze was extinguished. After that, he said, they’d help the family comb through the rubble to find their salvageable belongings.
Dayton Arey said he and his family — the couple has five children — have lived at the Stackpole Way home for about 10 years. He said he didn’t know where the family would go now that their home is gone.
After arriving at the scene, Heidi Arey choked back tears as neighbors and friends attempted to comfort her.
“My whole life just went up in flames,” she said.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an error. The wife of homeowner Dayton Arey is Heidi Arey not Idie Arey.