Three-alarm blaze damages home on Balsam Lane in Freeport

By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Posted July 25, 2014, at 3:01 p.m.

FREEPORT, Maine — Investigators from the state fire marshal’s office and Department of Environmental Protection were at a Balsam Lane home late Friday afternoon after a three-alarm blaze drew firefighters from eight communities.

Initially reported at 1:25 p.m. as a basement fire, Freeport crews arrived to find smoke pouring from the basement and rising through the floor on to the first floor of the two-story, single-family home, Deputy Chief Paul Conley said.

The fire broke out while service workers were transferring oil out of tanks at the home in order to repair a leak, Conley said.

Mutual aid arrived from Brunswick, Yarmouth and Pownal, but Conley said that with the heat, the distance from the road to the house and the “labor intensive” attack, he also called for tankers and trucks from North Yarmouth, Lisbon, Bath and Topsham.

“I escalated to a third alarm not because I needed trucks, but because I needed people,” he said. “We [laid] out 1,500 feet of hose and could only get two trucks into the driveway to do what we needed to do.”

“The fire traveled up the stairway to the first floor, and there was some extension into the floor, but we were able to contain it to that area,” he said.

The fire was under control by about 2 p.m. One Freeport firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and another for a hand injury, but neither were taken to the hospital, he said.

Firefighters from as far away as Wiscasset and Falmouth provided station coverage for towns responding as mutual aid.

Conley estimated the fire caused $65,000 to $75,000 damage to heating and electrical systems in the basement.

Maine DEP officials were on scene because of concerns that the oil could leak into the septic system.

The home is owned by Mary Gribbel, according to tax records. It is assessed at $574,200.

Conley said the homeowners were en route from Massachusetts on Friday afternoon.

BDN staff reporter Ryan McLaughlin contributed to this report.

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/07/25/news/portland/firefighters-battling-blaze-on-balsam-lane-in-freeport/ printed on December 28, 2014