BOWDOINHAM, Maine — A family is safe but without a home after the house they were renting at 508 Browns Point Road was destroyed by a fire Wednesday night.

Firefighters received a call at 5:30 p.m. for a report of a front porch on fire, believed by a tenant to have been sparked by some hot ashes.

Jennifer Casoni was home with her two children and noticed the flames in front of the home. She called 911 and got the children out of the house. Her husband, Matthew Casoni, was on his way home from work.

Water had to be hauled to the house, which was not near any hydrants and located near agricultural fields on the unpaved portion of Browns Point Road.

Firefighters from Bowdoin, Richmond, Dresden, Lisbon and Topsham helped battle the blaze.

Bowdoinham Fire Chief Arthur Frizzle said that when crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames were showing from the small camp-style home built on stilts. Firefighters gained access to an open space below the house and found the fire started near a water heater because of an electrical problem.

Although the blaze was extinguished quickly, extensive overhaul was needed to make sure any hidden pockets of fire were eliminated. Crews fought the fire with water from below the house and had to cut holes in the floor to get to the hot spots.

The house was destroyed, Frizzle said, after extensive water and smoke damage in addition to structural damage. He said the family should be able to recover some personal property, but he did not believe they had renters insurance.

The Mid Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross was called to help the Casoni family, which has family in the area.

Firefighters cleared the area about 9 p.m.

Frizzle said the house is owned by George Christopher.

A gofundme account has been started for the family, and it can be accessed at