Five towns battle woods fire

FRANKLIN — Some 35 firefighters from five towns spent nearly six hours containing a fire that had spread over six acres off the South Bay Road by late Tuesday night.

A passer-by on Route 182 spotted a lot of smoke billowing across Hog Bay and reported the fire at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Franklin Fire Chief Robert Grindle was one of the first to reach the densely wooded area about 300 yards off the South Bay Road. By then, he said the flames were about 4 feet in height and covered a 2-acre area. He said firefighters hauled hoses over the overgrown, rocky terrain and through the woods.

“It was hard to get into,” related Grindle, who said a total of eight fire engines were on scene from Franklin, Gouldsboro, Hancock, Sorrento and Sullivan. Other towns’ fire departments backed up those responding to the Franklin fire.

Grindle said the wooded area historically was where tailings, which are large split-off granite blocks, were dumped during former quarrying operations there. He said the land is currently owned by a landscaping enterprise whose crew was on site picking through and removing stone the prior week.

Grindle said he doesn’t know yet how the fire started, but Maine forest ranger John Cousins has been on site to determine the cause. The chief said firefighters dug fire lines to control and finally contain the blaze at 11 p.m.

With such dry conditions, he said the fire could have spread even farther had it not been for area fire departments’ rapid response.

“God bless all the volunteers,” he said.

Letitia Baldwin

Letitia Baldwin

Arts Editor at The Ellsworth American
In addition to editing the Arts & Leisure section, Letitia edits special sections including Out & About, Overview, Health Quarterly, Your Maine Home, House & Garden and Get Ready for Winter. She comes from Chicago, Ill, but has deep family ties to the Cranberry Isles. [email protected]