LEWISTON — A house fire Sunday afternoon closed Route 202 and extensively damaged the home, but the owner is already at work on repairs and planned to stay.
When the Lewiston Fire Department was called to 1153 Main St. at about 2 p.m. Sunday, two stories of an exterior wall and several rafters were involved.
Homeowner Forest Farnum, who lives there with his son, grandson and uncle, said he suspected a chimney fire. He said that he's been burning fires there for years with no problem.
But in the past the suspect chimney had caught the eye of many from the road, prompting a call to the fire department. Many times when lighting this particular chimney, Farnum said he would give a courtesy call to the Lewiston Fire Department.
This time was different, "When we smelled that smoke, we got right on the phone."
"The chimney may have moved with the frost," said Farnum, who has lived in the home since 1989.
The fire was quickly extinguished by fire crews and a fast-thinking Farnum.
"We opened up the ceiling and saw some rafters glowing," Farnum said, describing how he and his uncle quickly grabbed a hose to begin dousing the area.
He said he was impressed with the Lewiston Fire Department and the care they had taken in keeping the damage to his home and belongings to a minimum.
Farnum considers himself lucky, speaking of the victims of Friday's shooting in Connecticut. The dripping ceiling and burnt remains of his kitchen did nothing to dampen his spirit as he began to stuff insulation in a hole beside his chimney. "Drywall is cheap." he said, smiling.
Farnum had already managed to run limited power to his house via a camper parked outside and had lighted a heater to fend off the cold of the snowy evening.
Fire officials will return tomorrow to further investigate the exact cause of the fire.