The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office believes a “human element” contributed to a fire that destroyed an abandoned shack in the Round Pond area of Bristol the afternoon of Sunday, June 5.
Bristol Fire Chief Paul Leeman Jr. said the one-story shack near the intersection of Coggins Road and Route 32 was a total loss, but firefighters from Bristol, Bremen, Damariscotta, and South Bristol were able to prevent the fire from spreading to a house on the property.
The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office has classified the fire as incendiary, Fire Investigator Mary MacMaster said.
“An incendiary classification means we believe there is a human element to what started the fire,” MacMaster said.
MacMaster said the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating.
The Lincoln County Communications Center paged the Bristol Fire Department at 1:25 p.m. Leeman said the fire was fully involved “with flames as high as 30 feet” when he arrived on the scene shortly thereafter.
Firefighters immediately took a defensive approach to the fire and were able to knock it down in about seven minutes, Leeman said. A tanker shuttle was set up to transport water to the scene.
The Bristol Fire Department cleared the scene at 5:13 p.m. Sunday.
Crews faced a few challenges while fighting the fire. Propane tanks were close to the shack when Leeman arrived. Leeman said the gas in the tanks was able to “vent out” safely through escape valves.
The buildings had been abandoned and were surrounded by debris, Leeman said. The house was uninhabitable prior to the fire due to a partially collapsed roof.
Firefighters from Bremen, Damariscotta, and South Bristol responded to provide mutual aid. The Newcastle Fire Department provided station coverage, Leeman said.
“This shows the importance of automatic aid and training together, so when situations like this happen, we can work together as one,” Leeman said.
The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office is interested in speaking to anyone who saw anything unusual in the area Sunday. MacMaster said she is particularly interested in speaking to the person who reported the fire.
Individuals are encouraged to call the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office at 626-3870.