Generator sparked fire that destroyed a St. George home during last week’s nor’easter

Lauren Abbate | BDN
Lauren Abbate | BDN
Two fire trucks collided while responding to a fire in St. George on Thursday.
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A fire that ripped through a five-bay garage and home on Clark Island last week was sparked by a generator being used to power the property during widespread outages.
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ST. GEORGE, Maine — A fire that ripped through a five-bay garage and home on Clark Island last week was sparked by a generator being used to power the property during widespread outages.

St. George Fire Chief Michael Smith said the home, which is located across from the Craignair Inn on the waterfront, is a likely total loss. The homeowner and his dog were home when the fire broke out but were able to escape uninjured.

Several firefighters suffered injuries when two trucks collided while bringing water to fight the fire at the end of the windy and narrow Clark Island Road.

Smith said the fire destroyed the garage that was attached to the home. Multiple antique cars, as well as two motorcycles and other vehicles, were in the garage when the fire started. Smith said the contents of the garage were reduced to “little pieces of metal.”

The fire, which was reported shortly after noon Thursday, spread from the garage to the second floor of the home before gutting it.

As crews worked to restore power knocked out by a nor’easter with heavy winds, Smith said the house was still relying on a generator. More than 190,000 Mainers across the state lost power because of the storm.

The two fire trucks that crashed were from Owls Head and St. George.

The drivers of each truck, Keith Miller, 65, of St. George and Donald Pierce, 64, of Owls Head, were taken to a local hospital for minor injuries. The passenger in the Owls Head truck, Russell Hallock, 56, was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland, according to Owls Head Fire Chief Frank Ross. He was released from the hospital Friday morning and is recovering from a back injury, according to Ross.

The Owls Head water tanker truck that went off the road and rolled onto its side is a “total loss,” according to Ross.

The truck can carry up to 3,000 gallons of water, according to Ross, and is valued between $300,000 to $450,000. This is the second Owls Head fire truck that has been put out of commission in recent months, after another truck’s transmission failed.

Ross said the town is trying to figure out the best route to purchase a new truck.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Ross said. “The trucks [that crashed] could have blocked the whole road, and Clark Island could have burned down.”

The St. George fire truck is currently at a garage and is being repaired, according to Smith.



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