Firefighters from several communities were called to 531 Waltham Road in Waltham Monday night after fire broke out in a garage and a house there. JAMIE BUTEAU PHOTO

Eight people left homeless after fire in Waltham Monday night

WALTHAM — Eight people were left homeless after fire destroyed a home and a garage and left another home without utilities Monday night on Route 179.

The fire was at 531 Waltham Road. Departments including Waltham, Eastbrook, Franklin and Ellsworth were called to the scene, with Ellsworth being paged just after 10:30 p.m. County Ambulance also responded to provide medical assistance.

Kathy Hisler said the fire broke out in a garage that was used by family members for storage. The fire spread to a mobile home where her brother and his wife, Brian and Sara Merchant, were living.

The Merchants made it out safely. Hisler, two other adults and two children were displaced from their nearby home because that home does not have electricity or running water as a result of the fire.

A fourth adult sometimes lives at the second home, bringing the total number of people displaced by the fire to eight.

Hisler said everyone is staying at a hotel in Ellsworth right now, at least until power and water are restored to her home. The Merchants will plan on staying with them until they can make a plan to replace the home that they lost.

Sara Merchant is almost four months pregnant, Hisler said, and all the baby clothing and furniture the Merchants recently received was destroyed in the fire. Anyone who has clothing or furniture they would like to give to the Merchants can contact Hisler by emailing her at [email protected]

Hisler said a GoFundMe account and spaghetti supper are among the fundraisers being planned to help the fire victims, but details about those fundraisers had not been firmed up yet as of late Tuesday morning.

The fire kept firefighters busy throughout the night. Ellsworth Fire Chief Richard Tupper was at the station in City Hall while a crew of eight Ellsworth firefighters brought a tanker and an engine truck to the scene in Waltham for mutual aid.

A roughly equal number of firefighters stood by at the Ellsworth station in case any other calls came in, and Lamoine sent firefighters and vehicles to Ellsworth for backup.

Tupper said city firefighters were busy until 3 a.m. this morning. Crews from Waltham and Eastbrook later went back to the scene to extinguish hot spots, and on its Facebook page the Waltham department thanked Ken Jordan for bringing his excavator to the scene to help root out those hot spots.

Tupper contacted the Red Cross and he said the agency was “very responsive.”

In a news release sent early Tuesday morning, the Red Cross said it was in contact with the eight displaced people and working to “ensure they have a safe place to sleep tonight, food and other essentials.”

The agency said it would stay in contact with the family “to provide financial assistance and community referrals, as they begin their road to recovery.”

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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