BOWDOIN, Maine — Firefighters from six different departments were unable to save a vacant mobile home on Bing Moore Road that was reported ablaze early Monday morning.
“Everything was fully involved when we got there,” Bowdoin fire Chief Tom Garrepy said Monday morning. “It was beyond any saving.”
The fire that consumed the mobile home with an attached garage was reported at about 3:30 a.m. by a neighbor. The home was owned by Russell Wing, who was not living there at the time, Garrepy said. The state fire marshal’s office is expected to arrive at the scene of the fire Tuesday to look for a cause.
A total of 25 firefighters from Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Richmond, Topsham, Sabattus and Lisbon responded to the call for help, and were able to extinguish a small woods fire that had spread out from the mobile home, he said.
But their efforts were complicated by a shortage of firefighting personnel and a lack of water at the site, the chief said, adding that he is very concerned about diminishing interest in joining the department.
A dozen years ago, there were nearly 40 volunteer firefighters on Bowdoin’s roster. Now, there are just 14, and only six of those also are emergency medical technicians — a problem, given that 70 percent of the department’s calls are medical situations.
“Like every other fire we have, the most challenging aspect is the lack of volunteerism,” Garrepy said. “It’s getting to the point now when it’s not easy at all. It’s especially bad for us in the daytime because people work out of town. It’s becoming more of an issue every year. The whole idea of volunteering is slowly diminishing.”