DIXFIELD — Fire Thursday night destroyed a two-story house, attached garage and camper trailer on Canton Point Road, but no one was injured, Dixfield fire Chief Scott Dennett said Friday morning.

He was waiting at the fire scene at 1169 Canton Point Road for state fire investigator Dan Young and homeowners Brian Webber and Melissa Strout to arrive.

Dennett said a family cat was in the house when the fire broke out sometime before 6:50 p.m. He was in the driveway when the cat suddenly dashed past him.

“All I saw was a bullet go zooming by,” he said. The cat was caught and taken to a local veterinarian’s emergency room, treated and was back with its owners Friday morning, Dennett said.

Webber and Strout had gone shopping, and went to enter a door but the room was smoke-filled, preventing entry, Dennett said. Webber went around the house to the back side and discovered the fire.

They called 911. Dispatchers sent Dixfield and Peru firefighters, and Med-Care Ambulance to the structure fire initially. While en route, Dennett said he requested mutual aid from Mexico, Rumford and East Dixfield firefighters, who were sent at 6:55 p.m.


“You could see a glow,” Dennett said of the initial fire on arrival. He said he was second to arrive behind a Dixfield police officer and went around to the back side of the building and saw fire already blowing out of the building.

Rumford firefighters set up a large diameter water line from a nearby hydrant and pump station near the Common Road intersection just west of the house for water supply.

“It was an exterior attack from the beginning,” he said. “With the large amount of heavy fire, the floor was already compromised, and toward the back there was no entry.”

More than 25 firefighters knocked most of the fire down by 8:30 p.m. After extinguishing it, Dennett said, he kept a fire watch going through the night should the fire flare back up, which it did at 5 a.m. Between 5 and 6 a.m., he said the fire watch crew used 1,500 gallons of water on the flames to extinguish them again.

Webber and Strout arrived at 10:15 a.m. Friday and soon after, state fire investigator Dan Young. Webber described the garage to Dennett, saying he believed the former owner kept dump trucks and pulp trucks in the garage.

“I know when the fire spread to it there was a large volume of it,” Dennett told Webber. “So I knew (the garage) was big. It was more than just a two-car garage.”


The cause was undetermined Friday, but state fire investigator Dan Young was investigating. Dennett said the initial report he received from dispatchers was that the fire started in the basement.

Temperatures at the time were near zero degrees with subzero wind chills. Dennett said the cold caused problems and the wind didn’t help.

“Obviously, things were freezing up and there was a little bit of wind that hampered the efforts,” he said. “Probably when the fire opened up on the back side, (the wind) may have spread it a little bit.”

Webber said he could look inside and still see firewood stacked up in the cellar.

“If (the fire) did come up from the basement, it would have a harder time spreading down in the basement,” Dennett said.

The house was built in 1950 and assessed at $76,700, Dixfield Town Clerk Vickie Carrier said. It was tax-acquired. Strout bought it from a bank late last summer or early fall, a relative said on scene.

Dennett said the house was insured and that Strout and Webber were staying with family.

Roxbury Fire Department stood by at the Mexico fire station and a crew was standing by at the Peru fire station to handle any other Dixfield or Peru calls.


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