WHITING, Maine — One man was burned and a house destroyed Saturday night as local firefighters fought exploding ammunition and propane tanks, high winds and extreme icing underfoot.
Ken Dwelley of U.S. Route 1 in Whiting was burned when his propane cooking stove “flashed back” on him, Whiting Fire Chief Craig Smith said Sunday morning. He was taken by ambulance to Down East Community Hospital, Smith said. The hospital would not provide any information on Dwelley’s condition.
Smith said the two-story wooden home was in flames when more than 20 firefighters from Whiting and Lubec arrived after Dwelley called 911 about 5:30 p.m. “We had guys inside, but there was a lot of exploding ammunition,” Smith said, “and so we were forced to back out.”
High winds and ice underfoot also hampered efforts. “I fell down three times myself,” Smith said. Firefighters also had to be cautious because of propane and oxygen tanks as well as welding equipment located in the building.
Smith said several cats were believed to have perished in the fire, but firefighters were able to save two 700-pound pigs from an adjoining structure. “First we had to shoo them out of the building, and then we had to round them up,” he said.
Smith said the home was a total loss, and Dwelley had no insurance.