March 29, 2020

Officials blame candle; man sure he extinguished them

BAR HARBOR — A couple who left their cold, powerless apartment here around 5 p.m. Saturday for warmer quarters returned Sunday morning to find fire had destroyed their first-floor, two-room apartment and many of their belongings.

Bar Harbor Assistant Fire Chief Lyman J. Kane said he believed the fire was started by an unattended candle in the couple’s apartment.

But Chris James, 26, who occupied the first-floor apartment on Shannon Way with his wife, Amy, 24, said he was sure the candles they had lit that afternoon were blown out before they left to spend the night with relatives.

“I know personally that when we left there wasn’t a candle lit,” he said. “We double-checked everything. I even went back a third time because I forgot my sunglasses.”

The fire which was discovered about 2 a.m. Sunday by another resident of the four-apartment complex, John Mountford, was contained to the Jameses’ apartment.

Going on their third day without power Saturday, the Jameses left their apartment after their landlord phoned to say power wouldn’t be back until Monday. James, who teaches eighth grade at Lamoine Consolidated School, and Amy, a teacher at Ellsworth Middle School, packed bags with clothes for school on Monday and left.

When they returned with officials Sunday morning, fire had burned out most of one bedroom and smoke had damaged the other room, fire officials said.

“I lost all my clothing. Amy lost half of hers. We lost the bed, the computer,” he said. His wife’s jewelry, left on her bureau, melted under the fire’s heat. “There’s a lot of smoke damage to the furniture,” he added. The couple will stay with immediate family in Town Hill until they get resituated.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

comments for this post are closed

You may also like