FREEPORT, Maine — An investigator from the state fire marshal’s office has ruled the second fire on Ware Road in as many days as accidental, marking the fifth accidental structure fire in Freeport since November.
Monday’s fire, at 3 Ware Road, is next door to a fire Sunday that also burned a mobile home at 5 Ware Road. Freeport Fire Chief Darrel Fournier said the Monday fire started from grease left on an electric stove.
“It was tragic and accidental,” Fournier said Monday afternoon of Freeport’s five fires since November. “There’s no arson. I want to make sure people know there’s no arsonist running around setting kitchen fires.”
Monday’s fire was reported at 6:36 a.m. Firefighters arrived to discovered heavy fire in the kitchen area and flames showing out the back porch, according to Fournier.
The blaze was under control in about 20 minutes, he said.
Robert Argreaves had just arrived at his job in Biddeford when his wife called Monday morning to let him know that she and their two children, ages 11 and 13, had safely escaped the home they rented. While she had gone back into the burning home to find their two dogs and a cat, the dogs had perished and their cat was missing.
“It sucks watching your childhood home being shoveled out the window,” said Mike West, whose mother, Carolyn Enns-West owns the home.
Fournier estimated the damage at $100,000. Argreaves said the family did not have renters’ insurance, but West said his mother is covered by homeowners’ insurance.
Sunday’s fire, at 5 Ware Road, began as a cooking fire after something was left on the stove, Fournier said.
On Sunday afternoon, Lester Scott and his adult son escaped that fire at about 1:30 p.m. That home was also destroyed, and Fournier estimated damage at $100,000. The home was not insured, and Fournier said the fire started when Scott left food on the stove.
Sunday’s fire rekindled later in the day, drawing firefighters back to the scene for several hours.
On Monday morning, Annie Nadeau, who lives in the next house on Ware Road, walked down the hill to ask West and Argreaves what had happened.
“It’s gutted,” Argreaves told her.
Nadeau said she is “nervous” because she is the next house on Ware Road, but investigator Chris Standford of the state fire marshal’s office on Monday ruled both fires accidental.
Within the last two months, two other homes less than two miles away also burned, as well as another in South Freeport — but all have been ruled accidental.
On Jan. 15, a fire destroyed a home at 17 Griffin Road, displacing a family of five. Fournier said either a portable electric heater had malfunctioned or items had been left too close to the heater.
On Christmas Eve, a fire that started in an electric hospital bed destroyed a mobile home on Starboard Lane off Staples Point Road.
In November, another home at 29 Griffin Road burned. Fournier said the cause was a malfunctioning furnace.
Fournier said his firefighters are taxed, having battled five fires since November.
“I certainly can’t explain why there have been so many fires,” he said.