STONINGTON — A house exploded into flames off Fifield Point Road Sunday morning and the remains of a person who is thought to be the homeowner were found, according to Maine State Public Safety spokeswoman Shannon Moss.
“Emergency responders received the initial call at approximately 8:52 a.m. reporting an explosion at the residence,” Moss said. “Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office began processing the scene Sunday afternoon and have located the remains of one person. The remains have been transported to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta. It is believed that the remains are of 71-year-old David Crutcher, who lived alone at the residence.”
The cause of the explosion/fire remains under investigation, Moss said. Investigators spent the afternoon at the scene and will be returning Monday to continue their work.
Stonington Fire Chief Ryan Hayward and two of his firefighters also were on scene again Monday, assisting the Fire Marshal’s Office investigators.
Hayward said firefighters were at the scene for 12 hours on Sunday.
Extinguishing the blaze was complicated by the remote location of the house and water supply.
“When I got on scene first with the fire truck, the house was pretty much all gone,” Hayward said. “The biggest factor was the water we didn’t have. It’s about a 3-mile drive down in. The ocean was dead low.”
In certain circumstances, the Fire Department can pull water from the ocean if there’s no other nearby supply, but it was low tide at the height of the fire.
“We never would have gotten out there in time,” Hayward said. “High water didn’t show up until we were pretty much done.”
Initially, the department drew water from the town’s standpipe — not an ideal scenario because Stonington has had to truck in bottled water again this summer because of the drought.
Luckily, the department was able to pull water from a pond about 2 miles away.
“It was actually really good to be able to do that,” the chief said. “We used 100,000 gallons. It’s a fairly substantial house.”
The fire from the house spread to woods nearby, burning approximately a quarter of an acre.
“We ended up calling in for more manpower,” Hayward said. Fire departments from Orland, Penobscot and Blue Hill came.
The Blue Hill Fire Department also went to a Sedgwick fire station to provide coverage for the peninsula, that is until a brush fire broke out on the Range Road in Blue Hill.
The Lamoine Fire Department traveled to Sedgwick to replace Blue Hill so it could go fight the brush fire.
“They [Lamoine] were gracious enough to bring a truck and a whole crew,” Hayward said.