PRESQUE ISLE, ME — A chimney fire displaced two and killed some exotic birds at a mobile home in Portage on Thursday night.
Portage Lake Fire Chief Brian Cote described a chaotic scene with multiple exotic birds flying around a smoke-filled house. The fire department was able to snatch some of the animals with a net before transporting them out of the building.
The fire department fought the flames, which had engulfed the attic, for 3.5 hours.
“Everything inside was black,” Cote said.
Cote said the fire seemed to begin in the chimney, potentially from a crack in the liner, before spreading to the attic. The firefighters were required to rip part of the ceiling down to put out the flames.
Cote believes the house will be unlivable because of smoke and water damage. About 1,500 gallons of water were pumped into the attic to stop the flames.
“They can’t live in that,” Cote said. “It’s a total loss.”
The fire displaced a husband and wife. While the couple’s cat and some of their birds made it out without severe injuries, other birds succumbed to the flames.
Cote called the Red Cross of Maine, which is ensuring that the displaced had their needs met, including access to food and a place to spend the night. In a press release on Thursday night, the Red Cross said it would keep in contact with the victims going forward.
Cote said that both a next-door neighbor and a friend of the family had offered their homes to the couple. Yet, he still says they lost “everything” in the fire.
“I just feel bad for the family,” Cote said. “I don’t know if he had insurance or not.”