OXFORD – A single-family home under renovation was extensively damaged by a fire that broke out late Sunday afternoon at 322 Robinson Hill Road.

Fire Lt. Steve Cordwell said the home suffered widespread heat and smoke damage even though firefighters were able to contain the blaze mostly to a stairwell.

“The fire smoldered unnoticed for a while until it was called in at 4:45 p.m.,” Cordwell explained.

Homeowner Richard Kimball had been installing plumbing fixtures and using a torch in the hours leading up to the fire, Cordwell said. After finishing repair work for the day, Kimball went next door to talk to a neighbor, leaving the home empty.

“We believe that the torch ignited some nearby material when Mr. Kimball left the home,” Cordwell said. “This is not an unusual accident when doing home renovations.”

Cordwell was not sure how long the fire burned inside the home as Kimball did not notice it for a while. With doors and windows of the home tightly shut, the smoke filled the house for a time before it began seeping out, he said.

“This would explain the major smoke damage throughout the house.”

Cordwell said firefighters had the blaze under control within 15 minutes of arriving on the scene.

Then, “We had to do what we call an overhaul,” Cordwell said. “We tear out parts of the ceiling and walls to be sure that there are no hidden flames or hot spots.”

There were no injuries as a result of the fire.

According to Cordwell, Kimball was not living in the home and the property is insured.

Cordwell said that Kimball was fortunate to have a place to stay besides the damaged property because “the home is not going to be inhabitable for a while.”

Assisting the Oxford Fire Department with mutual aid were fire departments from Norway, Paris and Mechanic Falls. Otisfield and Hebron departments covered other calls coming into the Oxford station as firefighters doused the flames on Robinson Hill Road.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.