A fire in Otis early on the morning of Aug. 26 gutted a home and garage and destroyed a car parked in the driveway. PHOTO BY KEN CANTOR

Early morning fire destroys home, garage and car in Otis



OTIS — A fire of undetermined origin destroyed a home, garage and car on West Shore Road in the early morning hours of Aug. 26.

People living in the home were able to escape safely. Staff at the Otis town office identified the residents as Thomas and Barbara Ward.

West Shore Road is located on the west side of Beech Hill Pond.

Ellsworth Deputy Fire Chief Gary Saunders said the 911 call came in at 3:23 a.m. Firefighters from Mariaville, Aurora, Waltham, Dedham and Ellsworth were called to the scene.

Ellsworth responded with an engine and tanker truck.

“Upon arrival, a house and garage were fully involved, as well as a car that was in the driveway,” Saunders said.

“A water source was set up at the lake [Beech Hill Pond],” he said. “Basically, it was a defensive fire attack.”

Saunders said Ellsworth firefighters were back at their station by 6:15 a.m.

There was no word this week on the cause of the fire. Mariaville Fire Chief Scott Baron, whose department covers Otis, was working Tuesday.

An official with the State Fire Marshal’s Office said no one from that agency was called to Otis to investigate the fire.

The American Red Cross in Maine said it has been and is helping the Wards. That help has come in the form of financial assistance for lodging, food and clothing, the agency said.

Justin Burkhardt, regional director of communications for the American Red Cross in Maine, said helping fire victims is typically a two-step process.

The first step is to address immediate needs: food, clothing, prescription medication and the like. The second step is getting the fire victims on that “road to recovery” and returning them to self-sufficiency.

Burkhardt said Red Cross officials would be back in touch with the Wards in coming days to see how they are doing and what their needs are.

Otis town office staff said the Wards are believed to be summer residents of Beech Hill Pond. The town’s tax rolls show that the Wards have a mailing address in Canaan, in Somerset County.

Reporter Steve Fuller co-authored this story

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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