Fire marshal’s office investigating fire that gutted Bangor house

Emergency crews battle a fire at the corner of Patten and Hellier streets late Monday evening.
Emergency crews battle a fire at the corner of Patten and Hellier streets late Monday evening.
Posted July 30, 2013, at 3:48 p.m.
Last modified July 30, 2013, at 5:44 p.m.

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BANGOR, Maine — A cause has not been determined for a fire that destroyed a Patten Street house on Monday evening.

Sgt. Tim York of the state fire marshal’s office said Tuesday it could take a couple days for the investigation to conclude.

The fire, which started just before 11 p.m., displaced two people.

Witnesses reported seeing lightning strike before the fire started, according to neighbor Randy Bessette. The residents, who were living in a camper behind the house at the corner of Patten and Hellier streets while they completed renovations inside, were out for a walk when the fire started, he said.

When Bessette arrived at the fire, “there were flames at least 15, 20 feet high coming out of the front of the house, and the side of the house almost hitting the other building next door,” he said.

The fire was contained quickly, but the house appeared to be gutted.

“There was so much fire it got into the walls and ceilings and between the floors,” said Assistant Chief Anthony Riitano.

Riitano said it was unknown whether lightning was actually the cause, although a lightning storm was rolling through the area at the time.

The residents were uninjured but lost their belongings, according to Bessette. A firefighter rolled his ankle stepping off a truck and was transported to a Bangor hospital, but it was just twisted, according to Riitano.

The American Red Cross provided housing for the residents.

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