LEWISTON — Daniel Long and his dog, Brutus, escaped injury when their home at 120 No Name Pond Road went up in flames Thursday morning.
Long woke up to Brutus barking and his birds squawking and smoke alarms going off. He was headed to the bathroom when he noticed the hallway was smoky. He approached it and saw his living room was on fire, he said.
Long, who uses crutches, managed to grab his cellphone, but wasn’t able to reach his wallet or save his birds.
He coaxed Brutus out of his bedroom and out the back door.
“I had to go in and grab him to get him out,” Long said of Brutus, a red nose pit bull who feels most secure under Long’s bed.
“I could hardly see him, (the smoke) was rolling so bad,” Long said.
He tried to get to the kitchen where he kept a fire extinguisher, but the blaze was too fierce, he said.
“I don’t know why, what started it. Whatever. It’s crazy,” he said.
Long, who’s an electrician, said squirrels living in his ceiling may have chewed on electrical wires.
Long said he’ll have a place to stay while his home, which is insured, is rebuilt. A nurse from the veterans clinic in Togus is bringing his medications, he said.
The home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. They had the flames extinguished within an hour.
Firefighters from Auburn assisted.
Sgt. Joel Davis from the Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal said investigators would work on determining the cause of the fire, including examining electrical wiring. The area of origin appeared to be at the front of the home, where damage was greatest, he said.
Several singed propane canisters were lined up near the driveway. Neighbors said they’d heard an explosion earlier.
“I’ll be quite honest, at most fires there’s a bang,” Davis said. The cause of the sound could have been a can of spray paint or something else under pressure.”