SULLIVAN, Maine — A fire that destroyed a vacant home last week off Taunton Drive is believed to have been caused by arson, according to a state official.
Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Wednesday that investigators believe someone intentionally started the fire which leveled a three-story house at 38 Evergreen Point Road and spread a short distance into adjacent woods. Neighbors and firefighters from four towns were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread far or threatened any nearby homes.
York said investigators have developed leads into how the fire might have been started but declined to say what those leads were.
“It’s an active investigation,” he said.
The owner of the house, Nadine Murphy, told the Bangor Daily News last week that she has not lived at the home for about a year because she has been living with and caring for her parents at their house about a quarter-mile away on Taunton Drive. She said there have been signs of break-ins at the house during the past year, including the morning the fire broke out. She said she had been at the house earlier that day after a town official contacted her to tell her an exterior door to the home was ajar.
At the house, Murphy found that someone had removed pink foam board from a ceiling and stacked it up as if they planned to take it away later, she said. Murphy said other items such as antiques, stemware and a hot-water heater have been stolen from the home on previous occasions.
Items inside the house such as furniture, books and record albums were destroyed by the blaze, Murphy said. She said the house, which she owned for nearly 20 years, wasn’t insured.
The homeowner said she had put the house on the market since moving out but that it was not listed for sale at the time of the fire. She said she only had a few more payments to make to pay off the mortgage.
At the time of the fire, Sullivan Fire & Rescue Chief Mike Hiser said he did not believe anyone was injured as a result of the fire. There were no readily apparent signs at the fire scene of anyone being hurt or harmed by the blaze.
Some media reports have suggested some firefighters may have suffered minor injuries, but York said Wednesday that he has not heard of any such injuries. He said that if there were any serious injuries, he likely would have heard about them by now.