April 05, 2020

Incense may have caused fire at Coffman home

OLD TOWN — Smoldering incense appears to be the cause of an early morning fire Thursday at the home of a former state representative.

The fire at the home of Ralph Coffman on Michael Street was discovered at 1:15 a.m. by one of Coffman’s teen-age daughters, who awoke to the smell of smoke, according to Fire Chief Ed Pollard.

Pollard said the girl checked a wood stove downstairs but found no sign of fire. Upon returning upstairs, the girl detected smoke in the bedroom of one of Coffman’s other daughters, who was not home at the time. The fire chief said the girl closed the door and called the fire department.

Coffman and his daughter escaped without injury.

When firefighters from Old Town and Orono arrived at the scene, they found fire burning in the mattress and bed clothes on a sofa sleeper in the bedroom.

The fire was extinguished within minutes before it could spread to other parts of the room.

“We believe that the daughter had left a container with incense burning and that it appears to have gotten knocked over somehow,” Pollard said.

Pollard estimated fire damage in the bedroom and limited smoke damage in an adjacent hallway at $6,000. The house, he said, is not insured.

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