July 20, 2019

Pooch alerts teen-ager to fire> Blaze destroys Down East home

MILBRIDGE — A family dog probably saved the life of a teen-ager who did not realize his family’s home was on fire until the dog started barking.

About 1:15 p.m. Monday, Jake Mathiason, believed to be about 18, was in the shower at his home on Route 1, when the family’s black German shepherd began barking. When the boy investigated, he discovered that the house was on fire. He and the family dogs were able to make their escape, Milbridge Fire Chief Peter Sawyer said Monday evening.

Sawyer said the Milbridge and Cherryfield fire departments responded because the house, owned by Howard and Elaine Mathiason, is half in Milbridge and half in Cherryfield. The teen-ager’s parents were not at home.

The chief said it appeared that the fire started in the living room and may have been caused by an electrical problem. He said the house was insured.

“We were just minutes getting there, and the place was totally involved. They lost everything, except some of the shed on the Cherryfield side,” the chief said.

Sawyer said about 20 firefighters from Cherryfield and Milbridge, as well as neighboring Steuben, Harrington and Columbia Falls were on the scene for about 4 1/2 hours. He said the firefighters were able to draw water from a hydrant in Milbridge and a nearby pond.

The chief said flying embers started a grass fire about a quarter mile away, but firefighters were able to extinguish it.

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