LISBON — Two families are homeless and five pets were killed early Saturday morning as a three-alarm fire ripped through a Union Street duplex.

The blaze was the first of three that would keep firefighters busy in the region, as a Norway fire displaced a 98-year-old man and a fire crews were called on to battle a house fire in Strong.

A fire at 6 Union St. in Lisbon was reported just after 4:30 a.m. and drew crews from Durham, Sabattus, Lewiston, Topsham, Auburn, Brunswick, Bowdoinham, Freeport and Yarmouth to assist Lisbon Fire Department. Two families, 14 people total, were displaced, and five pets perished. Only nine of the occupants were home at the time, and everyone made it safely outside, according to fire officials. No injuries were reported.

Firefighters work the scene Saturday of a three-alarm fire in Lisbon. Mutual aid calls were answered by Durham, Sabattus, Lewiston, Brunswick, Topsham, Bowdoin, Auburn, Yarmouth and Freeport fire departments. Officials say freezing temperatures hindered the firefighting efforts. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Just over an hour after Lisbon area fire crews got their call, around 5:48 a.m., crews from Paris, Oxford, Otisfield, Harrison, Bridgton, Sweden, West Paris, Hebron and Waterford were brought out to assist Norway Fire Department at 436 Waterford Road.

That fire displaced a 98-year-old man, the sole occupant, who made it out safely with a few belongings, said Norway Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Cox. After flames were knocked down, crews were able to retrieve a few more items, though the home is a total loss, he said.

Crews from 10 communities fight a duplex fire at 6 Union St. in Lisbon.

“(We) found the homeowner, (a) 98-year-old male sitting outside, just a little cold, as soon as my first engine arrived. We put him right in the truck to warm up,” Fox said. “We were battling an air temperature of negative 19 at the time with the wind chill coming off Hobbes Pond and within two hours the fire was out and under control.”


Though both fires left every occupant unharmed, crews in Lisbon really struggled with the cold, according to Lisbon Fire Chief Nathan LeClair. The Union Street fire was just a street over from the fire station, but dousing the flames proved difficult as equipment froze up and crews had to make frequent visits into the station and surrounding businesses to warm up from the nearly minus 20 degree weather.

“It really played havoc with every part of our operation — frozen hose lines, frozen air packs, frozen equipment trucks and we had to constantly rotate out the vehicles in order to keep operations going,” said LeClair.

As details on the Lisbon and Norway fires came rolling in Saturday afternoon, Strong crews started their own battle on a home at 75 North Main St. Strong Fire Chief Duayne Boyd said around 2:30 p.m. the fire was still in progress and details would be provided once it is knocked down.

No causes for any of the fires have yet been determined, according to respective officials.

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