NEWBURGH — Trucks from seven fire departments clogged Route 9 near Lindsey Road on Monday afternoon while firefighters fought to save at least a portion of a two-story, red-shuttered home where flames had burrowed into the walls. An adjacent barn was left untouched.
A dog was the lone occupant of Linda Myers’ home when the Newburgh Fire Department arrived, according to Fire Chief Gary Sibley. The dog was rescued without injury.
Sibley said a telephone worker stayed at the scene until firefighters arrived and told them the animal was inside. Sibley did not know the good Samaritan’s name, or why he was in the area.
Myers was at work in Hampden when her phone rang with the news that her house was burning.
As fire crews worked Monday, Myers watched from inside a tan Subaru parked about a hundred feet from her home. Sadness was etched in her face as she told reporters she did not want to answer questions.
Sibley said the initial call from Penobscot Regional Communications Center indicated there was only smoke coming from Myers’ home.
“When we got here with the truck we saw the need to call [for mutual aid],” he said. Crews responded from Glenburn, Hampden, Hermon, Winterport, Bangor and Dixmont, bringing engines, tankers, rescue units and at least one cascade truck.
The cascade unit is used to refill the air tanks firefighters carry on their backs.
“We’re going through a lot of air,” Sibley said at the scene. “We’re breathing hard.”
Sibley said the fire “got into the walls,” making it more difficult to put out the flames, but he was hopeful that a rear section of the house might be salvaged.
There were no fire hydrants in the immediate vicinity of the house, but a nearby stream was used to replenish empty tankers.
The cause of the fire was not yet known late Monday afternoon. “We haven’t been able to get into it far enough to know,” said Newburgh firefighter Keith Miller.
Miller stood in Myers’ ice-caked driveway, between the house and the barn, as he spoke. Fire hoses snaked around his feet. Black-topped gray smoke billowed from the roof against a clear blue sky.
Sibley echoed Miller’s comments, but added that he believed the fire would ultimately prove to be related to Ice Storm ’98, making it the third storm-related structure fire in Newburgh since the ice first blanketed much of Maine nearly three weeks ago.
“This is our 19th call since January 9th,” Sibley said, noting that the total reflected both calls within Newburgh and mutual aid responses. Newburgh normally fields about 25 or 30 calls all year.