NEW VINEYARD – A three-story home on the corner of High Street and Route 27 was damaged by fire this afternoon, with eight departments on scene to combat the blaze. A family of five was living at the residence.
The large, white house, located at 2 High Street and immediately adjacent to Route 27, is easily distinguishable by its attached cupola and ornate weather vane. The fire was reported just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to 9-1-1, with mutual aid calls eventually bringing equipment and personnel from New Vineyard, Farmington, Kingfield, Strong, Phillips, New Portland, Industry and New Sharon. Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police also responded for traffic control, while NorthStar EMS was also at the scene on stand-by. Central Maine Power sent a technician to disconnect the house’s power.
It was reported that fire was seen around the chimney on the second floor, although a specific cause has not been identified.
The building’s owner was not immediately identified at the scene Wednesday evening, although fire officials confirmed the house was insured. The residence was the home to a family of five: tenant Jennifer Sweetser, another adult and three children. Farmington Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Clyde Ross said that Red Cross had been notified, and that organization confirmed that it was working to ensure the family had food, shelter and other essentials for the near future.
No people were harmed in the blaze, although a newly-acquired cat is missing.
Firefighters utilized a number of tankers and pumpers provided by mutual aid calls and quickly sent in teams with air packs and tools to dig out the fire. One challenge of the specific building, Ross noted, was that its old construction included significant numbers of plaster walls that had to be dug into to ensure crews were able to curtail the “extension” – fire moving either vertically or horizontally within walls or floors. Route 27 was closed for approximately one hour and 45 minutes to accommodate the significant amount of equipment at the scene.
The full extent of the damage was not evident as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.