FARMINGTON – Three people have lost their home today after a quick-moving fire gutted the building at 185 Maple Ave. An attached apartment over a barn where two tenants live was left untouched by the blaze. The state’s Fire Marshal’s Office investigators said the fire was caused after a mattress caught fire from a smoldering cigarette.
The fire was reported at 12:15 p.m. Within a minute or two of the call, the Farmington Fire Rescue Department crew arrived, scrambling to make sure no one else was still in the building.
Ben Cummings stood out front in socking feet with a blanket wrapped around himself asking about his dog, a large husky, believed to have been trapped in his upstairs apartment.
Cummings told Fire Chief Terry Bell, who had been frantically searching to see if anyone else was in the building, that his dog was still inside, but didn’t think anyone else was in the building.
Later, firefighters would confirm his dog had died in the blaze.
Ben and John Cummings own the house. Nancy Cummings also lived there and, according to fire officials, the home was not insured.
NorthStar Emergency Medical Services crew members brought Cummings into the warmth of the ambulance as firefighters battled the blaze in temperatures in the teens with a fierce wind chill factor of 5 to 10 below zero.
Later, Ben and John Cummings and an unidentified pregnant tenant all went to Franklin Memorial Hospital after complaining of smoke inhalation.
According to Deputy Chief Clyde Ross, the fire started in a mattress downstairs in the house. The Cummings brothers tried to carry the mattress outside but were consumed by smoke and had to leave the building as the rest of the house caught fire.
Twenty-five mutual aid members from Wilton, Jay, Temple, New Sharon and Chesterville responded to assist the Farmington department. Several neighbors gathered to see if they could be of help to those who have lost their home. The American Red Cross has been contacted to help the Cummings family.
Police were able to open Maple Avenue from High Street to the Granite Heights entrance by 2:45 p.m.
Maple Avenue neighbors point to the apartments as fire crews try to determine if anyone is still inside the building after arriving on the scene, as fire quickly spreads throughout the structure. A dog was reported missing.