LAMOINE — The small wooden structure was fully ablaze within minutes after the fire was spotted by a passer-by the afternoon of Feb. 10.
Little remained other than a woodstove, which the state fire marshal said likely caused the fire.
“It either ignited nearby combustibles, or the stove failed, or there was a possible chimney fire,” said Assistant Fire Chief Stu Marckoon.
When the smoke dissipated, it was determined that the house owned by Richard Wallace on land owned by William Pinkham is substandard — no well or septic system.
A similar cottage behind Wallace’s and owned by Pinkham also has no well or septic, Marckoon said.
Marckoon said it is not known for certain whether Pinkham’s house is occupied, but that someone was living in the house that burned.
“There was a woodstove going and a dog in the yard,” he said. “We never received a complaint about the occupancy of these two homes until after the fire.”
Tom Martin, executive director of the Hancock County Regional Planning Commission, said it is difficult to say how many substandard dwellings there are in Hancock County and whether they are occupied year-round.
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