May 22, 2018
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Smoldering balsam fir pillow sparks garage fire in Lincolnville

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — A balsam fir pillow that had been microwaved Saturday night by a Wentworth Road woman who wanted to “recharge the scent” sparked a fire in her garage that could have been very destructive, according to the fire chief.

“Apparently she overdid it,” said Lincolnville Fire Chief Jason Peasley of the pillow’s trip to the microwave. “When she did it, she burnt it.”

The burned pillow no longer smelled aromatic, and so the woman — whom he did not identify — put it in her garage overnight. What she didn’t know was that the needles had caught fire, and the pillow smoldered in the garage for hours.

“Between 7:30 and 8 a.m., it actually combusted and caught fire,” he said Monday.

The flaming pillow caused a workbench to burn in the garage, as well as tools and some of the walls.

“It caused enough smoldering in there that a lot of the walls had blackened,” Peasley said.

The woman went into her garage Sunday morning and acted quickly when she saw the flames.

“She called 911 because it was on fire, then she started putting it out herself,” the chief said. “She knocked it down herself with a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water.”

He said that four tankers and engines and 19 volunteer firefighters responded to the fire. Lincolnville also had initially asked for help from four other communities but once the firefighters realized that the woman had extinguished the fire on her own, they canceled the requests.

According to Peasley, he hasn’t heard of anyone microwaving a balsam fir pillow before and said that it’s not recommended. The snowbank would have been a better place to put the smoldering pillow than the garage, the chief said.

“The damage, it’s not substantial. She was very, very lucky, obviously,” Peasley said.

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