June 16, 2019

Rural Cooper home burns; man, cat, dog escape

COOPER — A two-story house belonging to an elderly couple burned to the ground early Sunday morning in this town about 15 miles southwest of Calais. The house was located on Eastern Ridge Road, about two miles from Route 191.

The fire broke out at about 6:20 a.m., when Jim Meehan started cooking his breakfast on the stove. His wife, Mona, is in the hospital in Bangor. Meehan told firefighters that he went into the bathroom and then heard the smoke alarm go off. When he returned to the kitchen, he found the room filled with smoke.

“By the time I got there, flames were already coming through the roof,” said Cooper firefighter Ray Ketchen. “He just got out with what was on his back.” A dog and a cat also escaped. The house and attached garage were demolished, but the car was saved.

The town of Alexander sent two tanker trucks to assist. About 30 firefighters worked for more than five hours to contain the flames. Alexander’s 2,400-gallon tanker truck made several runs to the nearest water supply, Lake Cathance, about a mile away.

“Their help was much appreciated,” said Ketchen. “They did a good job of keeping the fire from spreading into the woods.” Several firefighters remained at the site throughout the afternoon to make sure the fire didn’t start up again.

Ketchen said Meehan had relatives in the area he probably would spend the night with. He wasn’t sure if the house was insured, but he believed it was.

“I’d say he was fully insured, knowing Jim,” he said.

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