WATERVILLE — A family of six was displaced early Thursday when fire tore through their home on Carey Lane in the city’s South End where homes are situated very close together and the streets are narrow.

The fire at 37 Carey Lane drew 16 Waterville firefighters as well as many others from Winslow, Albion, China, Clinton, Oakland and Fairfield, according to Waterville fire Battalion Chief Rodney Alderman.

Alderman said the home is listed as a one- or two-family dwelling, but one family lived there and owns the building. He did not immediately have the names of the occupants.

No one was injured in the fire, which is being investigated by both the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal and Waterville fire Battalion Chief John Gromek. State fire investigators were due to arrive Thursday.

“They’re coming in this morning,” Alderman said.

The building appears to have been destroyed, though Alderman, who had not yet been to the scene, said he did not know if it was. However, he said a garage or barn there had collapsed.

At the scene around 8 a.m., next-door neighbor and former City Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas said a young couple with children lived there and had moved in about five years ago.

Rancourt-Thomas said she thought the home was as old as hers, which was built in 1850 by her great-great-grandfather.

“This is one of the original houses on this street,” she said, adding that most of the homes were built around the same time.

Rancourt-Thomas’ house is just a few feet from the one that burned, yet there appeared to be no damage to her house.

“If the fire department hadn’t gotten here as quick as possible, my house would have gone up,” she said. “We’re very grateful.”

Carey Lane is a short, one-way street off Water Street that loops in a sort of half-circle back to Water Street. Rancourt-Thomas said many people watched firefighters work at the scene into the wee hours of the morning. She was on her way to work Thursday morning and said she hadn’t gone to bed until 3:30 a.m.

The back part of the home was just a shell. The remains of the barn or garage structure were a pile of black rubble.

Waterville police and Central Maine Power Co. were at the scene during the fire, and the city’s public works department helped clear debris.

Multiple agencies battle a fully-involved apartment building fire Thursday on Carey Lane in the South End of Waterville during the early morning hours. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

It is not clear whether the house was insured.

“That will be part of the investigation,” Alderman said.

He said the displaced family is being helped by the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross was contacted, and they’re working with the family to get them housing,” he said.

Fire crews left the scene just before 7 a.m. Thursday, he said.

“They did a hell of a job protecting the exposures,” Alderman said of surrounding homes, a couple of which had minor damage where the siding melted.

“That’s one of the things that we hammer home in responding,” Alderman said. “Our first priority is life safety. It’s rescue first and then exposures. We protect the exposures. That’s our second priority, making sure the fire doesn’t spread beyond the building or the room of origin. Then we try to confine it. Those are our tactical priorities.”

Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield and Oakland fire departments battle a fully-involved apartment building fire Thursday on Carey Lane in the South End of Waterville during the early morning hours. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Waterville fire Chief Shawn Esler was at the fire and had gone home later in the morning to get a little sleep, according to Alderman.

Meanwhile, at the burned out home Thursday, a fire truck rolled up Carey Lane, two firefighters got out and went into the structure.

A large trampoline on the lawn, some distance from the house, appeared undamaged. Yellow tape surrounded a chain-link fence and gate at the front of the property.

Rancourt-Thomas said she was in her house when the fire broke out and heard people in the street.

“There was screaming. I came out and it was like, the house is on fire. I called 911. It looked as if my house was going to go up. That house went up in 30 seconds. The fire department response was so amazing. I am so fortunate.”

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