Awakened by dog who later perished from smoke

Lincolnville home destroyed by early morning fire

By Susan Mustapich | May 14, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Lincolnville firefighters,who responded quickly to a May 10 structure fire on Beach Road, found the rear exterior wall of the home in flames, and fire coming out of the roof cap vents.

LINCOLNVILLE — Community members are donating to fundraisers for a couple who escaped a fire that destroyed their house on Beach Road May 10, after their puppy, who did not survive the fire, woke them up.

Bronwen Williamson and Kory Whitfield were awakened by their puppy, Midge, and escaped the house with their two other dogs. But the year-old black lab who woke them hid in the house, and died of smoke inhalation.

Williamson said that at about 4:15 a.m. "our puppy, Midge, started barking and woke us up." She noticed it was unusually bright out behind the house. A gazebo on the deck was completely engulfed in fire, she said.

Calling the dogs, she went out the front door, and two of the dogs went out with her. Whitfield tried to put the fire out with fire extinguishers, and was burned on his arms and back, Williamson said. While he did not go to the hospital in the ambulance that arrived, they went later, and he was treated for second- and third-degree burns, she said.

"Midge was at least five minutes ahead of the smoke alarms. She absolutely saved our lives," Williamson said.

She said the fire spread from the deck into the roof, which was metal over shingles. With the fire in the roof and above the smoke detectors, they had not yet gone off, but it was already hard to breathe, Williamson said.

The Lincolnville, Camden and Northport firefighters who responded to the structure fire May 10 found the majority of the rear exterior wall of the home engulfed in flames, and fire coming out of the roof cap vents all the way across the ridgeline, according to Lincolnville Fire Chief Don Fullington III.

Camden and Northport fire departments respond automatically to emergency dispatch for structure fires in Lincolnville, Fullington said. He also called the Hope Fire Department for additional help.

Fullington said the fire was knocked down quickly, but by that time, the entire back of the house was destroyed.

A good number of firefighters turned out to put out the blaze, according to Fullington. "They were all incredibly helpful," he said.

An outpouring of support from the community has followed the fire, and the couple's loss of home, belongings and their dog.

More than $13,500 had been donated by May 14 to the "House Fire. Please help Kory and Bronwen!" fundraiser on Facebook.

A potluck benefit for Whitfield and Williamson will take place May 19 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Threshers Brewing Co. in Searsmont. A $10 donation is suggested, and donated items will be collected.

The couple have also opened a bank account, "K&B's House Fire Fund," at Bangor Savings Bank, where donations can be deposited. Williamson said they opened the account after hearing from older community members who wanted to help but do not use Facebook.

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