EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — A local man was recovering in a Portland hospital on Monday after suffering serious burns when he and another neighbor got splashed by a burning pot of grease from a Main Street kitchen fire, officials said. Two others were treated for lesser injuries.
The man was admitted to Maine Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns after he was treated initially at Millinocket Regional Hospital on Saturday, East Millinocket Fire Department Capt. Kevin McAdam said. Police and firefighters declined to identify the man.
Another man drove himself to Millinocket Regional Hospital for treatment for second-degree burns on small portions of his elbow, McAdam said. The captain declined to identify the man.
An infant also was taken to Millinocket Regional to check for smoke inhalation issues as a precautionary measure.
McAdam said the two men likely saved the kitchen and home at 105 Main St. from significant damage when the man being treated in Portland pulled the burning pot off the stove and took it into the driveway before 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
One man had already called 911, and the other called McAdam to report the fire and had hauled the pot out of the kitchen when firefighters arrived within a few minutes of the calls, McAdam said.
“They didn’t realize it was a pot of grease,” the captain said Sunday night. “When [the man treated in Portland] went to throw it outside, he slipped or tripped, and it got all over him.
“By removing the grease from the house, he removed the fire from the house. There was no damage done. The ceiling tiles weren’t even melted,” McAdam said. “With a baby in the house, he thought it was the right thing to do. I don’t think he screwed up by any means.”
However, firefighters generally recommend that anyone encountering a fire at home call 911 immediately and exit the dwelling, particularly fires involving highly flammable substances such as grease, McAdam said.
“ Grease fires are extremely dangerous. You can smother a grease fire and as soon as air gets to it, it can flare right back up,” McAdam said.
The burn victims were fortunate, McAdam said, that East Millinocket has had a paramedic working day shifts since the department merged its ambulance service with the Lincoln Fire Department last year. He added that unlike EMTs, paramedics are qualified to administer basic pain management medications.