WOOLWICH, Maine — Firetrucks were unable to get up an unplowed driveway on Hedge Bridge Road on Tuesday night, and were thus unable to fight a blaze that destroyed a two-story home.
Woolwich Fire Department Capt. Glen Kirkpatrick said he was the first to arrive at the driveway of 190 Hedge Bridge Road just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. When he arrived, he saw flames shooting from every window.
“The driveway was unplowed, approximately 1,500 feet, which made access via firetruck impossible,” Kirkpatrick said Wednesday morning. Firefighters walked from the road to the site of the blaze, but could do no more than monitor the fire.
About 30 minutes after fire crews arrived at the scene, the entire two-story house fully collapsed.
Emergency medical personnel checked the homeowner at the scene. His name was not immediately available on Wednesday.
A cat and dog perished in the fire.
Firefighters with shovels and a snowmobile were able to save a shed near the house by shoveling snow onto it.
Kirkpatrick initially sounded a first alarm, drawing Bath, West Bath, Arrowsic,Georgetown, Dresden and Wiscasset fire departments. He later called in Richmond.
Workers from Jack Shaw and Sons Construction used a front-end loader to plow some of the driveway but couldn’t get up the hill approaching the house. By that time, the fire was in the basement.
Given the lack of access, the captain canceled the alarm, clearing West Bath, Bath and Wiscasset as soon as they arrived at the scene.
The homeowner told firefighters that he usually plows his driveway with a tractor but it couldn’t keep up with this year’s snow, so he parked his vehicle at the end of the driveway and walked to the house, Kirkpatrick said.
Woolwich firefighters cleared the scene at around midnight. The fire isn’t considered suspicious and the cause is unknown, although Kirkpatrick said there was a woodstove in the house. He did not know if the home was insured.
The state fire marshal’s office was notified but no investigation is anticipated, given the extent of the damage.