SUMNER – Fire Chief Robert Stewart told selectmen Thursday night that state police suggested he approach them to condemn and remove the house on 30 Front St. in West Sumner for health and safety reasons.

He said the two-story, wood-framed house is overrun with trash inside and out and both chimneys have been condemned, according to Selectman Mark Silber in a phone interview Friday night.

The house belongs to Duane and Naomi Waterman and was being searched this week in connection with the shooting deaths of two men in West Paris last weekend.

Stewart said state police asked him to assist in searching the house using the department’s thermal imaging camera.

Last winter, the Fire Department was called there for a chimney fire, he said, but firefighters said they would refuse to enter the house if there was an active fire because of its condition.

Stewart also remarked that the town had received a letter from the Department of Environmental Protection concerning rubbish outside the house where the Watermans live with their children.

Town administrative assistant Cynthia Norton said Friday night that the DEP issued a notice of violation to the owners because of the trash there, but the legal matter remains unresolved.

Selectmen opted to table any decision on the house until they conferred with their attorney. The town would own the house if it were condemned and thus be responsible for the cost of removal, which would amount to several thousand dollars.

In other news, the board made a tentative decision to contract with PACE ambulance, which wants to provide ambulance service to the portion of Sumner now served by Tri-Town Rescue. This decision was pending until Selectman Glen Hinkley could have discussions with the local people involved in Tri-Town.

Selectman Mark Silber said Friday that he heard from Hinkley and the decision would be to go with PACE.

The board approved Stewart’s request to have the fire pumper truck repaired, which will cost between $18,000 and $20,000. Stewart said the town needs some newer engines, but the pumper is essential to the department because of Sumner’s rural setting.


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