By J.W. Oliver
A house at 57 Lakeview Road in Boothbay Harbor lies in ruins after a fire Christmas night. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Updated Dec. 26 at 3:20 p.m.
An online fundraiser set up by a relative of the Boothbay Harbor family whose house was destroyed by fire on Christmas night has already met and surpassed its $10,000 goal.
As of 3:15 p.m., the effort had raised $13,155 from 115 donors in just five hours.
A house at 57 Lakeview Road in Boothbay Harbor after a Christmas night fire. (J.W. Oliver photo)
The funds will benefit homeowners and newlyweds Matt and Kate Rice and Matt Rice’s 11-year-old son, Sullivan. Matt and Kate Rice married Aug. 16. Their first child together is due in May.
The family “has immediate needs between now and when insurance takes over,” including food, new clothes, and a place to live, according to the narrative on the website.
“On Christmas evening, Matt Rice returned home after a nearby holiday family gathering to find smoke billowing out of their home,” according to the site. “He frantically tried to save the two dogs and one cat, but was forced out by blinding smoke.
“The firefighters did everything they could to save the home, but it was a total loss. Their beloved pets could not be saved.”
Matt Rice works as a lobsterman and Kate Rice teaches pre-kindergarten at Boothbay Region Elementary School, according to the site.
“Everything they lost is too overwhelming to comprehend,” according to the site. “They have many friends reaching out to help, so this site is a tangible way to do just that.
“Thank you for your compassion and caring toward this amazing family. Continue to hold Kate, Matt, Sullivan, and baby Rice in your thoughts and prayers as they navigate the slow process of rebuilding their home.”
The fire gutted the house at 57 Lakeview Road, across from the Beach Cove Waterfront Inn and a short walk from the St. Andrews campus of LincolnHealth.
Boothbay Harbor Fire Chief Nick Upham said the fire originated in the area of a refrigerator and “could have been an electrical problem with the refrigerator” or the refrigerator’s power source.
Lincoln County Communications paged the Boothbay Harbor Fire Department at 8:36 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 25.
The house was “fully involved” when firefighters arrived, Upham said. “We had it knocked down within 45 minutes and we had it out completely within probably an hour and a half.”
The fire rekindled during the early-morning hours, and Lincoln County Communications again paged the Boothbay Harbor Fire Department at 4:41 a.m., Friday, Dec. 26. Firefighters quickly extinguished the secondary fire.
The Boothbay, Edgecomb, Newcastle, and Southport fire departments assisted Boothbay Harbor at the scene.
Caution tape surrounds a house at 57 Lakeview Road in Boothbay Harbor after a Christmas night fire. (J.W. Oliver photo)