NORWAY – The working smoke alarms may have helped save the lives of occupants in a Dunn Road farmhouse Sunday, fire Chief Dennis Yates said Monday.
Yates said Monday afternoon that the state Fire Marshal’s office determined that a wood stove installed improperly years ago was the cause of the blaze that destroyed part of the farmhouse of Leslie Miller at 226 Dunn Road.
A pet cat was killed and two firefighters were taken to a hospital.
“It could have been much worse,” Yates said, but there were working smoke alarms that went off when the fire erupted at about 7:30 p.m.
While the wood stove itself was properly working, an improper installation many years ago caused fire to go up through a vent on the first floor and into the ceiling under the roof. It burned for at least an hour before it was discovered.
One firefighter remained hospitalized Monday afternoon after experiencing chest pains at the scene. A second firefighter, from Oxford, was treated for dehydration at the Stephens Memorial Hospital on Sunday and later released.
The fire was reported by Tina Farrar, who was there with her 16-year-old daughter. Miller’s 14-year-old son and a 20-year-old friend who was staying at the home, were also in there. None of the occupants were injured. Miller was out of town.
About 50 firefighters from 10 towns extinguished the fire in about three hours. The back half of the farmhouse and an ell connected to a barn were gutted, causing an estimated $30,000 in damage. The front of the house and an attached barn were saved.
Yates said he called in fire departments from 10 towns to ensure there was enough water to the rural area.