Warren house burns to the ground in early morning blaze

By Beth A. Birmingham | Sep 12, 2018
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Firefighters from Warren continue to douse the rubble at the scene of a structure fire at 45 High St. that flattened a three-story house in the early morning of Sept. 12.

Warren — Firefighters from six departments responded to a structure fire at 45 High St. just after midnight Sept. 12.

Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office Investigator Mary McMasters said the cause of the fire is undetermined because of the extent of the damage.

She said the three-story structure, which burned to the ground, housed cars on the first floor, and a netting business on the second, but could not confirm what was on the third floor. However, Fire Chief Greg Andrews said it was a licensed marijuana-growing facility.

According to Warren firefighter Bill Lufkin, the roof of the structure was collapsing as the first responders were arriving.

Andrews said he was uncertain how many people were on the premises at the time the fire started, but he noted there were many bystanders present when he arrived at the scene. He acknowledged that the owner of the property, Kenneth Gray, was there, then an unidentified woman arrived.

“Things got a little bit toxic,” he said.

Nobody was hurt, although two of three dogs and 16 puppies perished in the blaze.

Warren firefighters stayed on the scene throughout most of the day to ensure any remaining embers were extinguished.

The wooden structure was approximately 300 feet long and 60 feet wide, and used to be a chicken house, before serving as a warehouse and manufacturing facility for the former Crowe Rope company, Andrews said.

The chief said because of the severe heat being thrown from the fire, the pumper truck was unable to pull into the dirt driveway.

When asked if the numerous vehicles strewn across the property caused problems in battling the fire, Andrews said, “It didn’t make it any easier.”

Crews from Waldoboro, Union, South Thomaston, Appleton and Washington assisted Warren in battling the blaze.

The town of Warren recently took action against Gray for operating an illegal junkyard. According to court documents, Gray was given notice by Code Enforcement Officer Melody Sainio and the town to clean up the premises and did not comply. On Aug. 31, a court hearing was held, at which Gray was not present. The court ordered him to pay the town $15,700 in fines and gave Gray a deadline of Nov. 1 to abate the existing violations.

According to Jim Murphy, Assessor's Agent, the building was assessed at $63,900. It was not insured.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Warren house burns to the ground in early morning blaze
Warren firefighters evaluate the aftermath of a structure fire at 45 High S.t that completely destroyed a three-story house early Sept. 12. Fire Marshal Investigator Mary McMasters, foreground, was at the scene to investigate. (Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham)
Comments (2)
Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Sep 13, 2018 12:55

Sounds awfully questionable. I hope an investigation happens.

Posted by: Gary W. Skarka | Sep 13, 2018 09:43

I am not sure why this makes reference to a "house" burning down.  It was not a house, but the old rope factory building.


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