SABATTUS — No one was injured in a blaze that destroyed the home of George Gowell at 594 Sabattus Road on Monday night.

With snow falling hard and fast, fire departments from Sabattus, Wales and Lewiston responded to the scene just before 9 p.m. Monday. The home’s two residents were not home when it started, Sabattus Fire Chief Don Therrien said.

“The structure owner said when she opened the door, the whole place went up,” he said, referring to the unidentified woman who also lived there.

The home is at the intersection of routes 126 (Sabattus Road) and 132.

The fire quickly spread and by the time Therrien arrived at the scene — just a minute and a half after the alarm, he estimated — “there was fire coming out of every window.”

“We went to a defensive mode right away,” Therrien said. “They made a pretty good stop, because there’s two buildings very close. That’s what I was worried about when I got here.”

The two buildings include a garage and a neighbor’s home. Both structures are about 20 feet away from the charred house. Stroker’s Plus, a motorcycle service shop operated by Gowell, is within 50 feet of the house.

Within an hour, firefighters had extinguished most of the flames. “The problem now is to find where the fire (still) is, and put it out,” veteran Sabattus firefighter Marcel Deforge said as smoke continued to billow from the charred home.

Even when the flames were extinguished, firefighters could not enter, Therrien said. “The floors are gone.”

Because of the driving snow, limited visibility and slushy roads at the time of the fire, “conditions made it a little slow getting over,” Therrien said. Still, the first truck arrived on the scene about 6 minutes after the alarm.

“The biggest thing is nobody got hurt. No one was inside. As far as I know, all the pets got out,” Therrien said.

The cause of the fire was unknown Monday night. Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office were on their way to the scene at about 10 p.m., and would continue to investigate Tuesday if needed, Therrien said.


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