Bethel couple loses home in fire

Matthew Daigle/Staff Writer

Firefighters battle a blaze at Bob and Jackie Schuesler's house at 81 Intervale Road in Bethel on Wednesday. The fire is believed to have started in the living room but a cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon, state fire investigator Dan Young said.

BETHEL — A couple lost their two-story home at 81 Intervale Road in a fire of undetermined origin Wednesday morning, officials said. There were no injuries.

Matthew Daigle/Staff Writer

Bethel firefighters spray water on Bob and Jackie Schuesler's burning home at 81 Intervale Road on Wednesday. The couple returned home to find it engulfed in flames. A cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

Bob Schuesler, who is in his 70s, and his wife, Jackie, had left their house for about 40 minutes and returned to find it engulfed in flames, Dan Young, an investigator with the state Fire Marshal's Office, said.

The couple's pets, including two cats and a rabbit, were unaccounted for. Their dog was at the vetenarian office and was not injured.

“Nobody was in the house, but their pets were in there,” said Kyle Anderson, the Schueslers' grandson. “That, and everything that they've ever owned.”

The house was assessed by the town at $102,900.

Young said the fire likely started on the right side of the living room and jumped to the second story, where it “tore through pretty fast.”

The cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

“We still have firefighters trying to extinguish the flames, so we won't be able to continue our investigation until tonight or tomorrow morning,” Young said. “We know that the homeowners left their home for about 40 minutes, and upon returning, found it on fire.”

Firefighters from Bethel, Woodstock, Greenwood, Gilead, Newry, Rumford and Andover fought the blaze, while Oxford County Sheriff's Office temporarily restricted access to Intervale Road to accommodate them.

Also at the scene was the Rev. Kevin Bellinger of the Bethel Alliance Church, who offered support to the couple.

He said the Schueslers have “poured so much into the community” and “they've always been there to help whenever something bad happened."

Bellinger shook his head. “It's really too bad," he said. "I'm hoping the community can come together and help them the way they've helped others,” he said.

Another friend said the Schueslers were the type of people to “take the shirt off of their back and give it to you if you needed it.”

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

Chuck Blaquiere photo

A Bethel firefighters trains a hose on a section of Bob and Jackie Schueler's house at 81 Intervale Road in Bethel on Wednesday morning. No one was injured in the blaze and a cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

Chuck Blaquiere photo

Flames, smoke and steam rise from Bob and Jackie Schueler's house at 81 Intervale Road in Bethel on Wednesday morning. No one was injured in the blaze and a cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

Chuck Blaquiere photo

Bethel firefighters fill a portable tank at the driveway to Bob and Schueler's house at 81 Intervale Road in Bethel on Wednesday morning. The couple returned home to find their two-story house engulfed in flames. A cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

Chuck Blaquiere photo

Smoke rises from Bob and Jackie Schueler's house at 81 Intervale Road in Bethel on Wednesday morning. No one was injured in the blaze and a cause had not been determined by Wednesday afternoon.

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Comments

Jeanne Boelsma's picture

My heart goes out to them

I can't begin to imagine the grief and loss they are feeling now. The Schuesler's have many friends in this community and we will come together to support them and do anything we can to help. One correction on the Sun Journal story though. The dog is safe. Poppee was at the veterinarian when the fire started, and is now back with Bob and Jackie. She needs our prayers too because she has no use of her back legs and needs constant nursing care. Maybe a doggie wheelchair in her future.

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