June 06, 2020

2003 fire in Sullivan still being probed

SULLIVAN – Though it was a year ago that 22 fire departments from Hancock County fought a fire that charred 124 acres of woods off Route 183, the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, a state official said Thursday.

No structures were damaged after the fire started on a Sunday afternoon in mid-May 2003, but residents on a mile-long stretch of the highway were evacuated as the flames came within feet of some homes.

At the time, rangers with the Maine Forest Service said the fire appeared to have a human origin, rather than a natural one. Lightning has been ruled out as a cause, rangers have said.

Maine Forest Service spokesman Jim Downie said Thursday that investigators are still looking into the fire’s causes.

“The fire in Sullivan is still under investigation,” he said. “We haven’t concluded it yet.”

Downie declined to specify where the fire began or how it may have started.

“We’ve interviewed a bunch of folks,” he said. “I’m not sure when there will be final resolution” to the investigation.

Flames initially were spotted in the woods off Morancy Pond Road and grew to 40 feet in height as the fire spread north toward Route 183. No one was hurt in the blaze.

Approximately 100 firefighters and a Forest Service helicopter battled the fire for four hours before they were able to get it under control.

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