Second devastating fire in two months on the same road

UPDATE: Pizza box on stovetop thought to be cause of house fire in Searsmont; occupants and dogs escape

Tue, 06/18/2024 - 8:15am

    SEARSMONT — UPDATE: On June 18, Searsmont Fire Chief James Ames said an investigator with the state Fire Marshal’s Office had visited the scene on Monday and said the fire likely broke out in the kitchen where a cardboard pizza box had been left on the gas stove.

    It is thought that one of the dogs may have attempted to grab the pizza, and in doing so, inadvertently pawed the knob for the gas stove, which subsequently ignited and burned the pizza box.

    James said smoke detectors were in place and operating. The fire was ruled accidental.

    Two adults, three children and two dogs escaped a fire that broke out just after 1:30 a.m. on the Levenseller Pond Road in Searsmont early Sunday, June 16.

    The fire consumed the home, leaving but charred timber and the remnants of one wall by Sunday noon.

    An investigator with the Maine’s Fire Marshal’s office is due to be at the scene on Monday.

    Lincolnville, Morrill, Appleton and Montville responded as mutual aid to help Searsmont Fire Department fight the flames.

    The dead-end Levenseller Pond Road lies along the west side of Levenseller Pond and is only accessed by High Street in Lincolnville. But the property lies within the Town of Searsmont.

    On April 21, another fire on Levenseller Pond Road destroyed a home, killed a dog, and left a family homeless. That house, at 59 Levenseller Pond Road, also was on the pond’s edge. 

    “This is our second fire in a month, and we have to check that no one is starting fires,” said Jame Ames, Searsmont Fire Chief.

    Being a close neighbor, Ben Hazen, a member of the Lincolnville Fire Dept., was first on scene at the June 16 fire. Stepping out of his door at 1:42 a.m., he could see the sky glowing, lit up by the flames.

    When he arrived, “the house was fully involved,” said Hazen.

    The homeowner, his children and two dogs were safe, although the father suffered burns on his feet and legs. Apparently, the dogs woke up the homeowner with whimpering and barking. When he awoke, the house was filling rapidly with smoke. 

    Firefighters set up equipment at the pond to pump water into tankers which transported the water to a pumper truck at the driveway. In turn, the water was sent down 2,400 feet of hose to the burning house. Hazen estimates approximately 35,000 gallons of water was used to fight the fire and to keep it contained from spreading through the woods to nearby homes.

    At least one neighbor spent the night wetting down her own home in fear of it catching fire.

    The cause of the fire remains undetermined.

    This story will be updated when more details become available.

    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at; 207-706-6657