‘Suspicious’ fire damages trailer

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DIXFIELD – A “very suspicious” fire destroyed a shed and part of a trailer on Canton Point Road on Sunday, then scorched two acres when wind fanned flames through woods behind the home, officials said at the scene.

No one at the 979 Canton Point Road home of Joan Daignault was injured, but one firefighter suffered an ankle injury and another, smoke inhalation, Dixfield fire Second Assistant Chief Donald St. Germain said. Both were treated at the scene by Med-Care Ambulance medics.

Maine Forest Service Ranger Jay Bernard said one kitten was unaccounted for, but other kittens at the home were believed taken to an animal shelter.

Daignault and youths living at the trailer were expected to seek housing and help from the American Red Cross United Valley Chapter in Lewiston, Bernard said.

Fire Chief Scott Dennett estimated damage to the shed, which was destroyed, and trailer at $15,000 to $20,000.

He said firefighters were first sent at 11:30 a.m. to a reported woods fire at the address, but then advised it had become a structure fire.

Three firefighters and a fire truck arrived first. One firefighter attacked the fire engulfing the shed and trailer porch area, Dennett said. A second firefighter grabbed a hose and doused flames on the right flank in the woods.

“The fire was moving up a little valley pretty good. They did a great job of knocking it down,” Dennett said.

Reinforcements were sought from Canton, East Dixfield, Mexico, Peru and Rumford. By the time everyone arrived, 60 firefighters and 12 fire trucks were there.

Canton Point Road traffic was shut down in Canton and Dixfield for a few hours.

By 12:10 p.m., a large column of white smoke was visible from the top of Morrison Hill in Dixfield, several miles away.

Bernard said the fire began behind the utility shed, ignited it and then spread to the trailer and woods. The cause remains under investigation.

Dennett said the fire was discovered by Daignault’s son and friends sitting outside on the porch, who thought they smelled smoke and investigated.

He was referring to Wednesday’s fire in woods at 972 Canton Point Road. A $2,000 reward was offered for information leading to conviction for that fire.

As firefighters were mopping up and others leaving, a small woods fire reported at 1:45 p.m. in Rumford’s Brick Park neighborhood sent Rumford firefighters to 44 Urquhart St.

Not all firefighters made it to the Dixfield fire. Peru Chief Bill Hussey said he was headed there when he came upon an accident at about the same time on Worthley Pond Road, alerted emergency responders, and stopped to extricate people inside.

Another accident was reported at about 2:10 p.m. when firefighters were heading off to four reported woods fires in Peru, which were actually five fires off Route 108 in Canton.

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