BATH, Maine — Pastor Charles Nece was watching television Saturday afternoon while his wife, Avis, walked their dogs with their granddaughter, Aftyn. Then he heard the smoke detectors, left the two-story, single-family home at the corner of High Street and Denney Road, and called 911, just before 3:30 p.m.
When his wife and granddaughter returned, they sent the dogs to neighbors, unable to do much else except “watch the smoke roll out,” Nece, pastor at the Foursquare Gospel Church, said, and wait the few minutes it took for Bath firefighters to arrive.
“Preliminarily, this is a chimney fire,” Bath Fire Chief Stephen Hinds said of the fire that gutted the house. As firefighters emerged from the building and crouched on the ground to rest, he added, “But this is repairable.”
The Nece family stood stunned, watching firefighters toss sodden furniture and other belongings out a second story window later on Saturday, as neighbors gathered to watch the aftermath.
Nece said he was glad he had changed the batteries in his smoke detectors when Daylight Savings Time began. And as he spoke, he stopped periodically to answer his cellphone — calls from concerned members of his church, he said.
“I’m just glad everyone was out,” he said. “It’s a house. It can be replaced.”
Hinds said West Bath and Brunswick firefighters responded to the fire for mutual aid, while Woolwich and Phippsburg crews manned the Bath station. Firefighters cleared the scene just before 6:30 p.m.