ORRINGTON, Maine — A family of five who live on Clark Falls Road have lost their home to a New Year’s Day fire that ripped through the two-story structure, Fire Chief Mike Spencer said from the scene as firefighters from the region still worked to put out the flames.
The fire was reported at about 2 p.m. by neighbors. Jay Spox was outside working on a snowmobile engine with his son, Kyle, when they noticed the flames.
“There was flames and black smoke coming out of the front basement window,” he said. “I grabbed three fire extinguishers and ran over, while my wife and son called 911.
“I sprayed it all inside and I thought it was out but, woosh, it started up again,” Spox said. “I was out of fire extinguisher stuff so there was nothing I could do.”
Kyle Spox kicked in one door in an attempt to free their neighbor’s dog, but could not go inside because of the danger, the neighbor said. At that point, Spox did not know if anybody was inside the home. He was going to get his ladder to attempt to get access to the children’s rooms, when the homeowner returned home.
“He was driving up the driveway and I was screaming, ‘Is anybody in there?’” Spox said. “He said, ‘No.’”
“He was devastated,” said Spox, who said he only knows his neighbors by their first names.
Spox said he saw the father drive away a few minutes before he noticed the fire. He had gone to the store or something nearby and returned to find his home in flames, Spencer said just before 4 p.m. Because the fire was still burning, the cause has yet to be determined, the fire chief said, adding investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office have been called to investigate.
Fire crews from Orrington, Brewer, Eddington, Holden and Bucksport arrived at the scene to find flames, and Hampden Fire Department also sent a tanker full of water, Spencer said.
Firefighters went into the home at first to battle the blaze, but were forced to leave when a floor gave way, the fire chief said.
“They arrived to find fire blowing out of all sides,” Spencer said. “Teams did go in. There was a floor collapse, a second floor collapse inside. At that point, we had to pull everybody out. It was unsafe for firemen at that point and we started fighting it from the exterior.”
No injuries were reported.
The home is owned by Kelli Duanais, according to real estate listings for the town.
While fire crews battled the Clark Falls Road blaze, Johnson Mill Road was closed to traffic between Swetts Pond Road and Center Drive, starting at about 2:30 p.m. It reopened about 5:30 p.m.
The frigid temperatures and access to water were initial problems for firefighters, Spencer said. Crews attempted to break the ice at a nearby creek to get water, but the ice was so thick it was unusable so tankers were used to truck in water from the fire hydrant by the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. plant, Spencer said.
“I would dare say it’s a total loss,” the fire chief said. “A family of five lost their home.”