UPDATED

Three-alarm fire in Thomaston damages structure, displaces tenants

By Stephanie Grinnell | May 05, 2013
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell About 45 minutes from the initial call for help, heavy smoke and a few flames were still visible at 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, the evening of May 4.

Thomaston — A three-alarm fire in Thomaston May 4 damaged one of several structures on the property located at 296 Beechwood St. Neighbors reported the address was that of Busy Bee Daycare; however, Thomaston Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Leo said May 5 the structure housed a duplex.

Leo said the fire appears to have been accidental, but he plans to meet with a fire marshal Monday morning.

"It appears to have started on the backside of the house," he said, adding the fire climbed the exterior walls into the attic. Damaged in the fire were parts of the roof and a master bathroom, Leo said, noting much of the "significant" damage was due to smoke and water.

Both tenants of the duplex were home at the time of the fire, which was reported by the upstairs tenant when she saw flames in her ceiling, Leo said.

"She thought her ceiling fan was on fire," he said.

Around 9 p.m., the fire was mostly extinguished, with gray smoke still puffing from the gable ends of the mostly-intact structure, and firefighters' headlamps clearly visible moving through the inside of the building.

Leo said firefighters remained at the scene until midnight, making sure there were no hot spots remaining. He said the attic had about a foot of of blown-in insulation, which can smolder undetected.

"That was time-consuming," Leo said. "Thanks to South Thomaston, Rockland and Thomaston, we kept it contained."

No injuries to the tenants, firefighters or pets were reported, though one cat remained missing as of Sunday afternoon, Leo said. The building, which is owned by Brian Barnes, is insured, according to fire officials. He said the tenants are staying with friends.

Leo said getting water to the scene was a challenge, as there are no fire hydrants in the area and limited access to ponds.

Traffic in the area was shut down for a time, as firefighters set up portable dump tanks of water in the roadway. Direct access to the fire scene was limited to firefighters and police. Two fire trucks traversed the long driveway to the structure while several others parked on Beechwood Street pumped water to the scene shuttled by additional trucks. Two area ponds provided water, one to each side of the fire scene.

"Just to be cautious, we called in Cushing and Owls Head," Leo said, referring to calls for tanker trucks.

Departments from Thomaston, South Thomaston, Rockland and Warren responded directly to the scene of the fire, while Owls Head and Cushing fire departments provided support as station coverage.

Smoke from a fire at 296 Beechwood St. in Thomaston was visible for miles around the evening of May 4. Shown here is the view from 302 Beechwood St. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
Fire trucks from Warren and Rockland block Beechwood Street in Thomaston as they pump water to trucks at the scene of a fire May 4. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
A fire May 4 at 296 Beechwood St. in Thomaston had limited access for fire trucks, down a long, tree-lined driveway. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
About 45 minutes from the initial call for help, flames were still visible at 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, the evening of May 4. (Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell)
The area where it is suspected the fire at 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, started May 4. (Photo by: Thomaston Fire Department)
Fire crews inspect the interior of 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, after a fire May 4. (Courtesy of: Thomaston Fire Department)
Fire crews inspect the interior of a duplex located at 296 Beechwood St. in Thomaston, which was damaged by fire May 4. (Courtesy of: Thomaston Fire Department)
A large section of roof at the 296 Beechwood St., Thomaston, duplex was destroyed in a May 4 fire. (Courtesy of: Thomaston Fire Department)
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