September 16, 2019

Frenchville family loses everything in house fire

FRENCHVILLE — A family of three lost all their belongings in a three-alarm fire Thursday night that destroyed a 115-year-old home in Frenchville.

Michael Bourgoin was working in his garage when the fire started. When lights flickered in the garage, located about 40 feet away from the house, Bourgoin went outside and saw smoke coming from the eaves of the home he has been remodeling for the past several years.

His wife, Donna, and their 15-month-old son, Andrew, were visiting family at Fort Kent at the time and no one was in the house. Bourgoin attempted to enter the house but heat and smoke prevented him from doing so.

The alarm was received at 6:40 p.m. by the Frenchville Fire Department, which responded with all four trucks and 24 firefighters. Firefighters from St. Agatha and Madawaska fire departments also responded but all three departments were hampered by low temperatures, a limited supply of water and freezing and damaged water pumps. Firefighters worked at the scene until after midnight to put out the fire. Some workers remained at the scene until 10 a.m. Friday.

The two-story wood frame structure was destroyed. All that remained of the building Friday morning was fallen walls and one corner of the building with a small section of roof.

Bourgoin said Friday morning that he was unable to save anything from the burning building. Clothing removed from the building Friday was ruined.

Frenchville Fire Chief Bertrand Paradis said the fire was believed to have been caused by an electrical problem.

Paradis said a pump used to get water from a nearby fire pond. St. Agatha firefighters broke through the ice at Dickey Brook and water was pumped from the brook to fight the fire.

A 43,000-gallon water tank at the Frenchville fire station was emptied by tankers hauling water to the fire and a 5,000 gallon tanker from Madawaska made three trips from Madawaska.

Martial Goyette, a Frenchville firefighter, was injured slightly when he fell on the ice at the scene. Two other firefighters, Gerard Chasse of St. Agatha and Aurele Lavoie of Frenchville, narrowly escaped serious injury from a falling roof over a porch.

Bourgoin said he has owned the house for about eight years, but he and his family moved in five years ago. He estimated the loss at more than $60,000.

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