A fire caused by a furnace malfunction destroyed a mobile home in the park off Egypt Road in Damariscotta the morning of Sunday, Oct. 21.
The homeowner, John Sprague, and his daughter’s dog, Lily, had left home around 8 a.m. to play Frisbee at his brother’s house in Nobleboro, Sprague said.
His daughter, Kimberly Leavitt, lives in the same park and called him to tell him his home was on fire.
“My family and I were just starting to wake up when I heard someone beating on my front door,” Leavitt said. “When I got to my living room I saw one of my neighbors at my door and when I opened it, she was screaming that my dad’s house was on fire. She was on the phone with 911 at that time.”
Leavitt said that after the neighbor said her father’s truck was not at the home, meaning he was not there, her husband ran to the burning home in search of Lily.
While Leavitt has had 11-year-old Lily since she was a puppy, she said Sprague and the dog have a special connection, and he takes her every weekend. “She knows exactly what you mean when you ask her if she wants to go to Grampa’s house,” Leavitt said.
“My husband said when he got there the home was full of black smoke and flames in the kitchen,” she said. “I called my father as I was running out the door and could see the thick black smoke in the sky where his home was. I told him he needed to get home now, that his house was on fire.”
“We got here very quickly, but these mobile homes go fast, with all the wood paneling inside,” Damariscotta Deputy Fire Chief Jim Hall said. He said the furnace had been cleaned in January.
Along with Damariscotta, the Bremen, Bristol, and Newcastle fire departments responded to the scene at 15 South Road.
Sprague had lived in the mobile home for eight years. He said everything inside was lost, except for two photos of his granddaughter and some clothes that had been in the dryer.
The Lincoln County Communications Center dispatched the Damariscotta Fire Department at 9:28 a.m. and again at 12:37 p.m., the second time to return to the scene with one engine to extinguish hot spots.
Sprague’s other daughter, Sierra Sprague, has started a GoFundMe online fundraiser for her father, to help replace what was lost. John Sprague said the funds would pay for what insurance doesn’t. For more information or to donate, see https://bit.ly/2q65NYh.
John Sprague is staying with a friend in Damariscotta, along with Lily.
“She won’t leave his side,” Leavitt said.