Carthage homeowner burned over 50 percent of body

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CARTHAGE — A homeowner was badly burned early Tuesday as he escaped a fire that destroyed his house on Route 142.

Fire Chief Dan Skidgell said Willis Berry suffered burns over about 50 percent of his body and was taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Berry, 64, was listed in fair condition Tuesday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Berry, whose bedroom is on the first floor, woke because of the fire and yelled to his son, Jesse Berry, 28, who was sleeping on the second floor, Skidgell said.

Jesse Berry told Jeremy Damren, a state fire investigator, he awoke to heavy smoke, and he and his dog escaped through a second-story window, Damren said.

The fire was reported at about 4:50 a.m., when Jesse Berry went to a neighbor’s house and called in the blaze.

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Damren said the fire began in the chimney.

“They started the wood stove late last night before going to bed,” he said. “The fire originated around the wall space on the second floor, near the chimney.”

More than 30 firefighters from several departments, including Carthage, Canton, Dixfield, Mexico, Peru and Weld, responded to the fire.

When firefighters arrived, the house was about 50 percent burned, Skidgell said.

The family had no insurance. 

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