Fire destroyed a vacant one-story house on Depot Street in Waldoboro the evening of Thursday, Aug. 27. There were no injuries.
The last known occupant of the house died in the spring, according to Waldoboro Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer. “It appeared to be abandoned,” he said.
“With the help of the police department, we are talking to neighbors, trying to establish who owns the property,” Smeltzer said.
The Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire, according to Smeltzer. He said the cause of the fire is not yet known.
Smeltzer said the department was initially dispatched to investigate a report of smoke by the railroad tracks that run across Depot Street.
Once in the area, he could see the smoke coming from the woods and located a driveway to the burning house.
The state of the property complicated firefighting efforts. The dirt driveway is long and narrow, with low-hanging branches. High grass surrounds the house.
Additionally, live wires were down on one side of the house, forcing firefighters to concentrate their efforts on the other side until Central Maine Power Co. could shut off power to the structure.
A Waldoboro police officer was first to arrive at the house and advised Smeltzer to approach on foot due to the condition of the driveway.
Only the department’s brush truck — intended for brush and woods fires — could make it all the way to the house, according to Smeltzer. A Waldoboro fire engine went up the driveway as far as it could, with other trucks waiting by the railroad tracks.
Firefighters were able to run hoses from a fire hydrant by the former Fieldcrest Manor nursing home, at 126 Depot St., across the railroad tracks to the house.
Smeltzer said the railroad was contacted about the hoses in case a train needed to be stopped, but none were scheduled to come through Thursday evening.
Depot Street was closed from Route 1 to the area around the railroad tracks.
Smoke from the fire could be seen clearly from Bunker Hill Road in Jefferson.
Lincoln County Communications dispatched the Waldoboro Fire Department at 6:34 p.m. Also responding were the Bremen, Damariscotta, Friendship, Jefferson, Nobleboro, Union, Warren, and Washington fire departments.
A crew from the Thomaston Fire Department provided station coverage for Waldoboro during the fire.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services, and the Waldoboro Police Department also responded.
Waldoboro firefighters returned Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29, to ensure the fire was fully out.
Smeltzer said “hoarding” conditions at the house contributed to the length of time required to overhaul the scene. “We had to keep stirring up debris inside the foundation and adding water,” he said.