LAMOINE — A lightning strike was likely the cause of a fire that destroyed a house on Falcon Lane in Lamoine on Saturday evening, said Assistant Fire Chief Stu Marckoon.
The residents of the single-family home were eating dinner just before 7 p.m., said Marckoon, when “they noticed that the lights were smoking. Not a good sign.”
Violent thunderstorms had been rolling through the region.
The three residents in the house tried to use a fire extinguisher to tamp down the smoke, said Marckoon, but called emergency personnel when their efforts failed.
By the time crews arrived 12 minutes after the call came in, “There was smoke coming out of every roof soffit.”
“We hit it with what water we had on the first engine,” Marckoon said.
“Just after we stopped hitting it, it broke through and got the oxygen it was craving. There was a lot of fire real quick. It had been cooking hard for a little bit.”
Every fire department in the county was either on standby or on scene, said Marckoon, with crews from as far away as Gouldsboro and Orland responding.
Some departments had already had a busy day, Marckoon said.
“This was Sorrento’s fourth call of the day,” he noted.
A Gouldsboro home was damaged in a basement fire earlier in the day and another house in Ellsworth was extensively damaged by fire on July 4.
A firefighter from Surry was brought to Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion, said Marckoon, but otherwise no injuries were reported.
The house is likely a total loss, said Marckoon.
“It literally burned from the top down, which is not the usual path.”
Crews were on scene until around 1 a.m., said Marckoon, and returned the next morning to deal with a rekindling, which he said was typical.
“We kind of expected that there would be [a rekindling]. On a big fire like this there’s so many pockets with heat in them it’s hard to find it all, especially after midnight.”
Another house fire reported just after 6 p.m. in Camden has also been attributed to a lightning strike, according to the Penobscot Bay Pilot. The home was significantly damaged but no injuries were reported, according to the Pilot.
Storms damaged power lines and houses across the state on Saturday. More than 18,000 customers lost electrical power Saturday afternoon and evening, according to the Portland Press Herald, and several microbursts were reported around the state.
“We can’t thank our mutual aid departments enough,” said Marckoon.
“We literally emptied the county of firefighters.”
Fire departments from around the county, including Gouldsboro, Winter Harbor, Sorrento, Sullivan, Hancock, Franklin, Eastbrook, Ellsworth, Surry, Orland, Trenton, Bar Harbor responded. Northern Light Medical Transport was also on scene.