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School board member feared dead following Winn fire

Posted June 04, 2013, at 5:50 p.m.
Last modified June 04, 2013, at 7:43 p.m.
A log cabin home at 391 Phillips Road in Winn was destroyed by fire on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
A log cabin home at 391 Phillips Road in Winn was destroyed by fire on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
Mattawamkeag interim Fire Chief Michael Coombs.
Mattawamkeag interim Fire Chief Michael Coombs.

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WINN, Maine — A member of the SAD 30 school board is missing and feared dead in a fire that destroyed a Phillips Road log cabin home on Tuesday that she shared with her husband, officials said.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland confirmed that Lisa Fogg is missing as a result of the fire that destroyed the home at 391 Phillips Road early Tuesday. Investigators from the fire marshal’s office removed a woman’s body from the home of Robert and Lisa Fogg late Tuesday afternoon. An autopsy will be performed within the next few days to identify the body, McCausland said.

“Lisa Fogg is unaccounted for and the fire marshals assume it is her,” McCausland said Tuesday evening.

When firefighters arrived shortly after receiving the alarm at about 7:30 a.m., the roof was starting to collapse. Within five minutes, the first floor fell into the basement, interim Mattawamkeag Fire Chief Michael Coombs said.

Then firefighters “got word that there might be somebody still inside the residence,” Coombs said.

Robert Fogg had already left for work, McCausland said. Neighbors said Fogg owns a construction company that works largely at pouring concrete slabs and clearing camp land. He also works for H.C. Haynes, a landowner and forest products industry wood supplier.

An educator who works with special-needs children, Lisa Fogg is the wife of Robert Fogg. She has been a member of the SAD 30 school board for the last 10 to 12 years, said SAD 30 Superintendent Barry McLaughlin, who first heard of the fire from another board member on Tuesday morning.

“I think everybody is still hoping and hoping against hope that it is not her,” McLaughlin said. “She’s a great board member.

“She’s always willing to speak her mind, but she was a great listener. I think she made her decisions about how she would come down on an issue based on what she thought was best for students,” said McLaughlin, who described Fogg as a personnel and contract negotiations committee member always willing to take on extra board work.

“I don’t think she went into a situation with her mind made up. She was a supporter of the board, the budget and teaching, the profession in general,” McLaughlin added.

Neighbors described Robert and Lisa Fogg as a happy, hardworking and friendly couple who had moved into the home three or four years ago and just recently were finishing its construction.

For three years, Lisa Fogg worked with Lisa Wiley’s son, Kamren Wiley, who is autistic — a stint that ended a year ago when the Wileys moved from Millinocket to Brownville.

“She was wonderful. She treated him like he was her own son. She encouraged his positive attributes. She worked really hard on the things that he needed help with and she is really just one of many that have helped me raise him to be the wonderful young man that he is becoming,” Wiley said.

“She was a lot of fun. They had a lot of fun together. She was very nurturing,” added Wiley, whose brother-in-law, Milo firefighter Basil Linwood Curtis, died fighting a fire in Milo in 1988. “She was really good at what she was doing. She really was. That is why he doesn’t have a worker right now. She was so good with him that I felt he needed a break because I was worried that he would expect the same from a new worker.”

Robert Fogg “is just starting out with work on concrete slabs and stuff,” said Eric Thurlow, who lives in Winn and is related to Robert Fogg by marriage. Thurlow said he was at home Tuesday morning when Fogg’s niece telephoned to say that there had been a fire at the Fogg residence.

If Lisa Fogg was killed in the fire, “it will be very sad for the people of SAD 30,” said Grant, whose board serves Lakeville, Lee, Springfield, Winn, and the plantations of Carroll, Drew, Macwahoc, Reed, and Webster. “She’s a very fine person. People like her. She has a lot of good ideas.”

The heavy layering of burned debris made it impossible for firefighters to immediately find anyone inside the destroyed structure, Coombs said. Fire Marshal Sgt. Tim York said he and other investigators had interviewed Robert Fogg and were awaiting more assistance before starting to sift through the wreckage. He said the Foggs were in their 50s.

“We haven’t even been able to get inside the building yet,” Coombs said, earlier Tuesday.

Mattawamkeag firefighters, who cover Winn, got help from the Lee and Lincoln fire departments on Phillips Road while Medway firefighters covered Mattawamkeag during the emergency, Coombs said.

Firefighters shuttled water from Grant’s Pond, a man-made water body that once served as a reservoir to a large potato farm that had been on Phillips Road many years ago, said Coombs and Grant.

When Coombs arrived, he said he saw “flames coming out of every window and doorway, out through the roof. They don’t get any hotter than that. There was nothing we could have done when we got here.”

A passerby reported the fire, McCausland said.

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