Turner fire destroys Upper Street home

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TURNER — A single-family house at 971 Upper St. was destroyed by a morning blaze Tuesday that took firefighters from five towns until mid-afternoon to knock down.

The fire was reported by a 911 call shortly before 9 a.m. as seen coming from the eaves of the one-story building. Flames were visible from an attic gable and first-floor windows when firefighters arrived.

One crew worked to battle fire in an addition behind the house while another worked on the attic fire in front.

No one was home when the fire started. A family cat perished in the blaze, Assistant Fire and Rescue Chief Ross Gagne said. Firefighters had trouble getting to the blaze through a double-walled roof, Fire Chief Michael Arsenault said at the scene. The back of the building collapsed from fire damage.

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Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 p.m., Gagne said.

An investigator from the Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal was called in to determine the area of origin and the cause of the blaze.

Webster Pierce, a neighbor to the property, said owners Joseph Merrill and Maria Lindsey and their children had lived in the house for about six months.

The United Valley chapter of the American Red Cross of Maine was working with the family to provide temporary lodgings, Gagne said.

Fire departments from Turner, Buckfield, Leeds, Livermore and Auburn responded. A portion of Upper Street was closed briefly to accommodate firetrucks.

The building is assessed by the town at $41,700.

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