A devastating New Gloucester house fire has proven fatal, claiming the life of one person, and wrecking a ranch beyond recognition.
First responders arrived at the scene of the incident shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 6, after being contacted by neighbors who reported the fire.
Deadly flames had engulfed the left side of a building located at 81 Bluff Circle, in the immediate vicinity of Mayall Road in New Gloucester, Maine.
When crews from the local Fire and Rescue department came face to face with the scorching fire which had probably originated in the home’s kitchen, they realized that they would have to contain it using an exterior attack, without entering the burning structure.
This approach, also known as “surround and drown”, was required because it would’ve been excessively hazardous for firefighters to try to extinguish the blaze from the inside, as part of a “two in, two out” rescue effort.
Dispatch teams had noticed that there was a van parked outside the residence, and since no one had been found in the yard they suspected that a person might be at risk, but it was deemed overly unsafe to attempt a more direct rescue mission.
Eventually, the overpowering flames were vanquished by firefighting units from New Gloucester, Pownal, Poland, Gray and Raymond, using a staggering volume of 15,000 gallons of water.
Regrettably, the house fire led to the demise of one individual, who was found trapped in the building, once rescue crews managed to gain entry inside the building.
The victim’s identity and gender hasn’t been made public yet, as investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office are currently trying to determine the source of the combustion, which was the first fatal one reported in New Gloucester in more than two decades.
Moreover, the home is virtually a ruin now, given the fact that the damage wreaked by the blaze has been extensive, and it is expected that additional details regarding the lethal fire will be disclosed later today, as the inquest progresses.
According to Captain Scott Doyle of the New Gloucester Fire Department, winter is the most perilous time of the year when it comes to house fires, causing the incidence of fatalities to double, especially because in anticipation of the holidays, people spend more time in the kitchen preparing complex meals.
Moreover, residents sometimes use unsafe heating devices to guard themselves against the cold and install Christmas decorations which can malfunction and trigger a blaze.
In order to limit such risks, it is essential to ensure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed, fully operational, and equipped with newly activated batteries.
Another recommendation is to link all such home devices together, because otherwise the occupants of a room might find out too late about flames taking over another part of the house.
In fact, the National Fire Protection Association has shown that most fire casualties occur when the victim had been unaware of the blaze that had started in a different section of the building.
Image Source: WCSH6