RUMFORD — River Valley firefighters had to contend with two flash floods and a severe thunderstorm while fighting a fully involved structure fire at 13 Andover Road early Saturday evening.

The fire was first noticed by Rumford Patrolman Scott Mills who had responded to the intersection of Andover Road and Route 2 after heavy rains washed out a portion of Andover Road, said Detective Sgt. James Bernard.

“I was in Rumford Center bringing traffic cones, and Scott called in heavy smoke on Andover Road and I expedited and got right up there,” Bernard said.

“Then, Scott and I kicked the front door in and hollered for five minutes but didn’t get anyone to respond,” Bernard said. “There was about a foot of clear air above the floor and the rest was black smoke.”

“I got on my hands and knees and hollered some more for anybody who might be in there, but we had to get out of the house because the smoke was so overwhelming,” he said.

When firefighters arrived at about 6:30 p.m., they had to wait for a Maine Department of Transportation crew to check the undermined road to determine whether it would support firetrucks, Bernard said.

Several fire departments fought the fire and knocked it down before the sky blackened and a severe thunderstorm pounded the area again with heavy downpours that quickly caused two flooded brooks to rise and overflow the road.

Firefighters quickly disconnected a fire hose from a hydrant beside Route 2 that soon went underwater as muddy water laden with woody debris swept down beside Andover Road and threatened to wash over Route 2.

Andover Road became submerged again and the road was closed. The house continued to smolder despite the heavy rain, causing firefighters to remain on scene as the road went underwater.

South Rumford Road and Route 232 were also under water in places, as was Route 2 near the former Madison Hotel.

Firefighters said that earlier on Saturday afternoon there was a mudslide in Mexico.

Emergency responders and MDOT crews passed through the area en route to other washouts.

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River Valley firefighters fight a fully-involved structure fire at 13 Andover Road after a heavy downpour early Saturday evening caused flashflooding that washed away a section of the road near Route 2. A second thunder and lightning storm rolled through a short while later and completely submerged the road and was about to overflow Route 2.

A firefighter moves his vehicle to drier ground after a severe thunderstorm on Saturday evening caused a second flash flood to overflow Andover Road at Route 2 in Rumford while River Valley area firefighters were fighting a fire at 13 Andover Road.

River Valley firefighters work to extinguish flames early Saturday evening at 13 Andover Road in Rumford. To reach the house, firefighters had to deal with a partially collapsed road and a flash flood that swept the area.


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