A chimney is all that’s left of Paul and Lucille Hodsdon’s getaway home that burned Thursday night next to Aziscohos Lake in Parkertown Township in northern Oxford County. The cause is under investigation. Submitted photo

NORWAY — “Paradise lost” was how Paul Hodsdon described the fire Thursday that flattened the getaway home he and his wife Lucille had completed in Parkertown Township.

“It was a nice home, that is what it was,” Paul, 80, said Monday in a phone interview from the couple’s home on Roberts Road in Norway. It was solar-powered and had satellite TV.

“We spent probably 75 to 90 days a year there,” he said.

“We just got it to the point where we could sit back and enjoy it,” he said. “Of course all of that is gone. The only thing I got left is the chimney.”

Along with the modular building overlooking Aziscohos Lake, the Norway couple lost years of memories and personal belongings. The only thing left is the chimney and an unattached garage that was untouched.

Lucille and Paul Hodsdon

The home on ALCA Road was put on the land in 2012. The couple finished off the daylight basement for visitors to stay.

“We found a lot nobody had ever built on and I started to clear it,” he said.

Married for 57 years, the couple has been going to Parkertown Township in northern Oxford County since 1974, pitching a tent when they were “young puppies,” he said.

They’ve owned three camps in the area and made connections there over the years.

Paul has been the president of Aziscohos Lake Campers Association for 25 years.

Paul and Lucille Hodsdon’s getaway home in Parkertown Township in northern Oxford County before the fire that leveled it Thursday night. Submitted photo

Lucille, 78, had documented all of the camps built in the area and had four binders at least 2 inches thick that were lost in the fire, Paul said.

“This lady started back when we bought our first camp,” he said.

She went to the Oxford County Registry of Deeds and researched who the original owners of the camps were and followed the history through for subsequent owners, he said. She took photos of the camps and people gave her photos of their camps being built. She would update the history taking a photo of camps every five years.

When people came to visit they enjoyed looking through it, Paul said.

The couple also had a three-ring binder that documented when logging started in the area in the late 1940s or early 1950s, that was passed on to them.

Paul credited firefighters for their work, saying they did “awfully well” to get to the site as quick as they did.

“I patted the (Rangeley Fire Rescue) Chief (Michael) Bacon on the back and gave him kudos for getting there in 45 minutes with a loaded firetruck,” he said.

The department and others responded to the fire reported at 8:30 p.m. Thursday by a neighbor. The Hodsdons were not there at the time. The cause is under investigation.

The home is 20 miles from Oquossoc village in Rangeley with 15 of those miles along dirt logging roads, Paul said.

It could have been worse, he said, if the fire had spread into the woods or to other camps.

As they decide what comes next, Lucille will continue as bookkeeper clerk at her family’s R.E. Hemond Farms Inc. in Minot, where he also works part-time.

He was an automotive technician for 5o years and was self-employed for 38 of them before retiring in 2010. He owned Paul’s Auto & Towing in Norway and prior to that Paul’s Service Station in Oxford.

The Hodsdons are well known in the Oxford Hill region for portraying Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Parade for the past several years. They are also involved in the lighting of the holiday tree in Norway.

Before that they portrayed Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Santa Visits Oxford program run by the town of Oxford. The couple has been recognized by the state Legislature and chamber in the past for their volunteer efforts.

For now, they’re going to take some time to think about what comes next, he said.

The camp was insured but he said he doesn’t know what they will do.

“My first priority is to get my bride healthy,” he said.

She had major surgery at Maine Medical Center in Portland on the morning of the fire and is home now.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’re going to cross that bridge when we get there.”

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