UPDATED: Fire Marshal’s Office determines cause of South Thomaston house fire

Sat, 02/22/2020 - 5:00pm

SOUTH THOMASTON — A homeowner in South Thomaston is grateful to say that at least no one was home when a fire gutted her residence Saturday, Feb. 22.

According to South Thomaston Fire Chief Bryan Calderwood, the State Fire Marshal’s Office has determined that an electrical issue on the first floor triggered a fire that ultimately left the woman, her son, and her son’s partner looking upward at the remains of three bare interior walls at once.  

Somewhere around 1:30 p.m., a third-party caller alerted Knox Regional Communications Center to a structure fire on Heron Cove, near Route 73.

By the time the first units arrived, the house was fully engulfed, and some popping noises were heard among the din.

The initial crew leaped from their apparatus with a 200-ft hose aimed at the left side of the structure as a way to stop the fire growth and to knock it down until more help could arrive, according to South Thomaston Fire Chief Bryan Calderwood.

That help came from South Thomaston, Thomaston, Owls Head, Warren, St. George, Cushing, and Rockland. 

Calderwood said he was unaware of an initial explosion, though electricity was still going when the initial firefighters arrived. Those lines actually broke as he and others were pulling in, according to Calderwood.

They broke “right in front of us,” he said.

By about 2:20 p.m., the majority of the fire was extinguished, though another hour’s time was spent dousing hot spots throughout the upper floor of the residence.

As part of the overhaul process, firefighters created a support beam from a longer piece of wood that just happened to be lying under that deck. That extra beam support become necessary so that firefighters wouldn’t fall down through a gap after the deck burned away from the house, according to South Thomaston Fire Chief Bryan Calderwood.

Coincidentally, up until the fire, the house residents had believed that the deck was the only part of the structure that needed to be replaced, according to the homeowner. By Saturday afternoon, it was one of the few house parts left standing. 

Though the FMO investigator made a final assessment, on-scene firefighters believed that the fire started in the basement, according to Calderwood.

No responders were injured during the fire, but, as of 3:30 p.m., the family cat was unaccounted for.

By 5 p.m., all mutual aid had cleared the scene.

“It was a beautiful house,” said the owner. “We had many wonderful years here.”


Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com