DIXFIELD — A fire that began in the Larry Knox Garage on Coolidge Road on Tuesday evening spread into his attached house and destroyed both structures, fire Chief Scott Dennett said at the scene. No one was injured.
Knox and two other people got out safely and moved a propane canister away from the burning building, Dennett said.
“There was nothing suspicious about it," the chief said. "It appears to be accidental.”
Knox ran a tractor-trailer and skidder repair business at his garage.
Dennett said someone had been doing some grinding in a section of the garage before going into the house for supper. The fire was spotted at about 7:50 p.m.
Getting water to the scene at 31 Coolidge Road proved to be a challenge, Dennett said.
“Water was initially a problem, until we got set up,” he said.
The nearest hydrant was about 2½ miles away, beside Canton Point Road at the Common Road intersection.
Because Coolidge Road is narrow, the tankers had to drive in reverse up the hill one at a time to a holding tank, from which water was piped into a Peru engine.
When Peru firefighters arrived first, Dennett said they were met with downed, live power lines in the Knox driveway.
They went up the road to the next house and cut across the yards to reach the fire.
“The garage was fully involved when they got here, with extension to the house,” Dennett said.
Firefighters launched an attack, but had to wait for water.
At 8:38 p.m., flames shot through the roof of the house while a team of firefighters stood between the burning building and the live power lines, which had burned off the house. Orange safety cones marked the danger.
The water line was charged as water arrived. The force of the spray collapsed the weakened roof, sending embers flying every which way.
Through one window of the house, the glow from the heavy fire could be seen from the driveway, illuminating firefighters waiting for water.
At 8:46 p.m., they began hosing down the fire through the window until they could work their way inside, illuminated amid the heavy smoke and darkness by flashlights dangling from gear.
A Central Maine Power lineman arrived at 9:20 p.m. and turned off the electricity 10 minutes later.
Dennett said about 50 firefighters from Dixfield, East Dixfield, Canton, Peru, Mexico and Rumford responded.