Wind hampers crews battling Mechanic Falls house fire

Posted Feb. 18, 2013, at 10:22 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 19, 2013, at 12:09 p.m.

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MECHANIC FALLS, Maine — A homeowner and his son escaped injury, as did firefighters responding to a blaze at 121 Pleasant St. Monday afternoon, but the home was a total loss for the uninsured residents.

Neither of the residents of the 2½-story, Victorian-style, wood frame house with four bedrooms were home at the time of the fire, which was initially reported by a passer-by from Norway at 1:19 p.m.

Firefighters and trucks from Mechanic Falls, Auburn, Poland, Minot and Oxford responded to the fire, which wasn’t brought fully under control until about 7:30 or 8 p.m. Mechanic Falls units had just arrived in Poland to help with a chimney explosion fire at a private home, but quickly left to respond to Pleasant Street.

“We didn’t clear the scene until 8:45 p.m.,” said Mechanic Falls Deputy Fire Chief Matt Fifield Monday night.

Fifield said wind was a huge problem, as flames spread very quickly in the 1890s-built house that sits atop a hill.

“The wind was coming in from one direction [west] and sweeping around the house,” Fifield said. “Half of the house was on fire when we arrived and within minutes it became the whole house. The wind really hampered our firefighting abilities.”

About 30-35 firefighters fought the fire using eight engines and a ladder truck. No rescue personnel or pets were injured.

Fifield said the cause is still undetermined and that the owner of the $150,000-$175,000 home did not have insurance. He and his son are being helped by the Portland chapter of the Red Cross.

“The fire marshal started an investigation today and will be back tomorrow to continue it,” Fifield said. “The damage was confined to the house. There was a one-car garage and a vehicle behind the house, but those were saved.”

Mechanic Falls firefighters were called back to the scene to put out a couple of hot spots around 9 p.m., Fifield said, but put those out and were back at the station by 9:25.

“The whole structure is still standing with a lot of water, smoke and fire damage,” he said.

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