Tuesday morning fire drives Addison family from their home

Posted April 09, 2013, at 1:47 p.m.
Last modified April 09, 2013, at 7:51 p.m.

ADDISON, Maine — Fire heavily damaged the Indian River Road home of an Addison family Tuesday morning, but those who were inside escaped without injury.

“It basically destroyed it,” Addison Fire Chief Sheldon Trundy said of Tuesday’s fire. “It was a really old house. It was close to 200 years old. It had been in the family a long time and they had done a lot of renovations over the years.”

The fire left the house gutted, the chief said.

“Only a shell is still standing,” he said.

A transmission line on a nearby utility pole came down just before the fire was reported at 7:33 a.m., knocking out power to 2,267 Bangor Hydro Electric Co. customers in Addison, Beals, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington and Jonesport.

Power to most customers was restored at 10:15 a.m, according to Bangor Hydro spokesperson Susan Faloon, who said Tuesday afternoon that the incident remains under investigation.

It was not yet clear Tuesday night if the downing of the transmission line and the fire were linked, Trundy said.

He said that an investigator from the state fire marshal’s office was at the scene and planned to return later this week with a state electrical inspector.

Patrick Brooks said he was at work when he learned of the fire at his home but that his wife, two sons and the family’s two dogs were inside when the 1850s farmhouse began filling with smoke.

Brooks said a brother who lives next door at 424 Indian River Road tried unsuccessfully to reach a basement electrical panel. Brooks said a utility pole across the highway from his house was in flames immediately before smoke drove his family from their home.

Brooks said the house, which is located near the Route 187 intersection with Wescogus Road, once belonged to his grandmother.

Volunteers from Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, Cherryfield and Jonesport fire departments went to the scene.

Firefighters remained at the scene throughout the day, working in rain. Trundy said the fire was fully extinguished by about 2 p.m. but that firefighters remained on scene for several more hours to watch for flareups and to wait for the fire marshal’s arrival.

Trundy said he believed the Brooks family planned to stay with family for the time being. The house was partially insured, the chief said.

BDN writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.