KENNEBUNK, Maine — A fire destroyed an Alfred Road home Monday morning, killing two pets and sending one firefighter to the hospital.
The fire began just after 10 a.m., said Kennebunk Fire Rescue EMS Division Chief Andrew Palmeri, and when crews arrived minutes later was “heavily involved.” While the home’s three occupants made it out safely, crews found a deceased cat and guinea pig inside and have not yet located a second cat, Palmeri said early Monday afternoon.
“The occupant reported that the fire spread very quickly. She had just enough time to tell her children to get out and she got out as well. The house was already heavily involved in fire when our units arrived on scene,” Palmeri said.
The two-story home, a rented wooden structure at 192 Alfred Road, appears to be a total loss, he said. According to tax records, the home was built in 1860.
“There was quite a significant amount of fire damage to the home,” Palmeri said. “They pretty much lost everything.”
The cause of the fire has not been officially determined, Palmeri said, adding the state fire marshal has been called to investigate. He said the occupant reported that she was “drying articles at the time the fire started.” It was also indicated in emergency communications that the fire is believed to have started in a dryer, where a sleeping bag was being dried.
“It’s certainly something we’re going to look at,” Palmeri said.
Carmine Dolce, a Kennebunk resident who was heading home Monday morning, called 911 when he saw smoke coming from a window of the home. Within minutes, he said “a blaze erupted.” “Immediately, everything started to crumble,” he said. “That house went up in a blaze in five minutes. I’ve never seen a fire move so quick.”
The displaced family is currently staying with a friend, Palmeri said, and residents are already coordinating on social media sites to help meet their needs.
“We did make efforts to try to save as much clothing as we could so that they have something,” Palmeri said. “The majority of it is smoke damaged, but at least then they’ll have something to wear.”
Fire departments from Kennebunkport, Arundel, Biddeford, Wells, Arundel and Goodwin Mills provided mutual aid. Palmeri said a Wells firefighter was transported to Maine Medical Center, though he did not know the reason for the transport or the extent of the injuries.
“It was a big response, but when we have fires of that magnitude, manpower is essential and the only way to get the manpower necessary is to call our neighbors,” Palmeri said. “We have good mutual aid agreements in place for such emergencies.” Traffic was rerouted in the area as crews battled the blaze. The fire was knocked down just after 11 a.m., and crews left the scene a few hours later.
This is the second damaging fire in Kennebunk in recent weeks. In late August, a fire that originated in a clothes dryer damaged an Intervale Road home and shuttered a daycare center that operated out of the home.
The most common cause of dryer fires is lint build up, Palmeri said. He urged residents to make sure their lint traps are kept clean. In addition, he cautioned people to pay attention to what should be put into a dryer.
“Some things are marked specifically because high heat will cause them to melt and burn,” he said. “Be careful what you try to dry and keep your lint traps clean.”