Movie night may have saved children from fire, Carmel fire chief says

Posted July 23, 2012, at 12:24 p.m.

CARMEL, Maine — A family’s decision Sunday night to watch a movie in the living room may have saved the lives of two children who normally sleep upstairs, Carmel Fire Chief Mike Azevedo said.

“They had a movie night and fell asleep in the living room,” the fire chief said Monday. “The dog woke them up. If the children had been upstairs, we would have a different story.”

The fire at 225 Damascus Road, where Jason Quimby, his wife and two children, ages 10 and 12, live was reported about 4 a.m. Monday.

“They woke up to smoke in their living room,” Azevedo said. “They are very, very lucky.”

When firefighters arrived, “the first and second floors were fully involved in fire,” the fire chief said.

When the flames were extinguished, “there was heavy damage on the first floor and heavy, heavy damage on the second floor,” where Azevedo said he believes the fire started. “They’ve lost everything. There is not much salvageable.”

Family members told investigators they were doing laundry in the middle of the night but the dryer was in the basement and did not cause the fire, Azevedo said.

“The dryer had nothing to do with it. We’ve ruled that out,” the chief said.

Efforts already are under way by community members to help the young family, Azevedo said, adding that he didn’t have any details.

The fire early Monday morning was the second that Carmel firefighters had battled in the last couple of days. They also fought a fire early Saturday morning on the Hampden Road that destroyed the front side of an old farmhouse.

A grandson of the former owner, who is deceased, went to the home to play video games, Azevedo said. The grandson, in his 30s, is a smoker.

“He didn’t have Internet at this house and he was over at his grandparent’s house” playing Xbox, the chief said. “He had gone into the restroom and came out and the top of the mattress was on fire.”

The mattress was located in the living room.

The fire was reported at 11:55 p.m. Friday, and when firefighters arrived flames were visible on the first floor. A metal roof caused some difficulties for firefighters, who were on scene for about five hours, and they called in a ladder truck from Veazie to assist, Azevedo said.

“The back part is still salvageable,” but the front part of the old farmhouse is destroyed, the fire chief said.

Shortly after Azevedo was interviewed Monday morning, Carmel fire was again called, this time to assist with a house fire in neighboring Etna.

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