Two bodies found in rubble of Sumner home destroyed by fire


SUMNER — Investigators recovered two bodies from the rubble of a house that was destroyed by fire Tuesday night.

Authorities believe the victims are Robert Keach, 52, and his sister, Della Keach, 60, who had lived at the 37 Barrows Road home for decades, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

McCausland said the two-story house was primarily heated by a wood stove and there was no indication of working smoke detectors in the house.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and personnel from the Sumner Fire Department used equipment, including a backhoe, to sort through the rubble Wednesday morning.

State Fire Investigator Sgt. Joel Davis told reporters at the scene that the fire was reported by a neighbor at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Davis said. Four investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office arrived later and brought in equipment Wednesday morning to clear off a 2-inch glaze of ice coating the house, Davis said.

Damage was so extensive that investigators might not be able to determine a cause, Davis said.

According to McCausland, Tuesday’s blaze brings the state’s death toll from fires this year to six.

An elderly husband and wife died in Elliotsville Township on Jan. 4; a man died in his Oxford house on Jan. 8; and a Berwick woman died when fire swept through her home on Jan. 31.

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