Labor Day fire damages vacation home on Mooselookmeguntic Lake

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RANGELEY PLANTATION – An observant neighbor helped save a vacation home on the shores of Mooselookmeguntic Lake by reporting seeing signs of a fire this morning.

Located off Bemis Road, a Birches Beach Road neighbor, reported seeing smoke coming up from under a 1960’s era, one-story log home and called for help at 5:45 this morning, said Rangeley Fire Chief Rudy Davis.

The homeowners, Douglas Babcock of Manchester, N.H. and Philip Babcock of Westford, Mass., weren’t home when fire, possibly started by a lightning storm last night or early this morning, broke out.

When fire fighters arrived, “a lot of smoke was coming from under the camp,” Davis said. About 15 fire fighters responded and quickly brought the blaze under control. It appeared the fire may have started under a bathroom-utility area, but Davis said an investigator with the state’s Fire Marshal’s Office will be coming up tomorrow to look into the cause and origin, as is the routine in all structure fires.

The home suffered smoke, heat and fire damage to contained areas. A hole was cut in the roof to get at the attic.

“There was tremendous heat in there,” Davis said, adding the structure was weather-proofed well against the elements so air flow in to feed the flames was diminished.

Mutual aid wasn’t needed and most of the crew cleared the scene by 10:30 a.m. Davis stayed at the scene to interview neighbors while a few fire fighters kept a watch for hot spots around the structure.

The homeowners arrived today and said they routinely turn off all power to the home before leaving. “There was a lot of lightning flying around last night; crackling everywhere,” Davis said.

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