PARIS — A two-story home down a long, winding driveway off Paris Hill Road was destroyed Thursday morning after flames in a chimney spread through the structure. A beagle died in the blaze.

Paris Fire Chief Mark Blaquiere said at least a dozen fire departments were called before enough firefighters arrived to attack the blaze.

Heather Webber of Norway stands Thursday with her boyfriend, Jeff Robinson, in front of his burned-out home on Paris Hill Road in Paris. Webber discovered the chimney fire and called for help. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

“It started in the chimney,” said Heather Webber of Norway, girlfriend of owner Jeff Robinson.

“I watched the smoke and then I saw the flames, and I had to get out,” she said. “It was halfway up the chimney wall. I looked up and saw the smoke and then the flames whooshed.”

“It breaks my heart,” she said. “This was his whole life. His father built the place 30 years ago. And it’s gone.”

Neither Robinson nor his roommate, Chris Mason, were home at the time.

Robinson said he has lived at the house at 780 Paris Hill Road for 22 years.

“My father built this all by hand, a nickel and dime at a time,” he said. “That’s what makes it tough.”

The first call for help came at 8:59 a.m., Blaquiere said, and when he arrived before the first fire truck there was heavy fire in a rear addition of the house. By 10:30 a.m., several alarms had been issued for additional manpower, including tankers from neighboring communities.

“We called Norway, Paris, Oxford, Woodstock, Hebron, Otisfield, Buckfield, Rumford, Auburn, West Paris,” he said. “I don’t even have the whole list of them all right here.”

The number of departments was a response to the shortage of local personnel.

“During the day we have a hard time getting anyone,” Blaquiere said. “There’s nobody around in Paris at all during the day. Myself, my deputy chief and that’s it.”

Firefighters laid hoses along the long, icy driveway drawing from tanker trucks stationed on Paris Hill Road. The flames were finally knocked down about 1 p.m.

“The fire marshal is on the scene,” Blaquiere said. “We’re just now getting the fire out so we can get inside. Once we can get in we’ll start our investigation.”

“It’s a total loss,” he said.

Webber said the house was insured and the first thing they would do is get new clothes for Robinson and Mason. She said the two would be able to stay at her home in Norway.

Sun Journal Staff Writer Steve Sherlock contributed to this report.

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