A house fire turned tragic in Somerville the morning of Saturday, Oct. 30.
Five fire departments responded to a structure fire at 471 Crummett Mountain Road at 7:26 a.m.
Investigators from the State Fire Marshall’s office were unable to identify the remains at the scene, but Somerville Fire Chief Mike Dostie confirmed by phone on Oct 31 that they belong to 72-year-old Ian Baston, who lived alone at the house.
Dostie said fire was the cause of death.
The fire was called in by hunters who saw the smoke and initially thought it was a large brush fire, Dostie said. The hunters reported hearing a continuous car horn and upon further investigation found the three-story structure already fully ablaze.
Dostie was at the scene in 10 minutes and found the post-and-beam home collapsed. He said the fire may have been burning for approximately two hours before it was discovered; it burned hot enough to split the stone steps at the front of the house.
“It had to be very hot for quite a while,” he said.
Dostie called for the fire marshal when he saw the truck in the driveway. He knew Baston, and also knew Baston was not a hunter, and suspected he may not have escaped.
The Windsor Fire Department had the first pumper truck on the scene and fire fighters focused on extinguishing the fire from the front, according to Dostie.
Jefferson firefighters worked the back of the building.
Water was shuttled four miles from the closest hydrant to the scene. Dostie said water was resupplied as quickly as it was used. The fire burned an approximately 20-foot area around the perimeter of the house.
Thirty-two firefighters and eight trucks responded.
“I thought it was a great turnout since it was the first day of hunting,” Dostie said. He thanked all the firefighters who he said dropped everything to come.
According to Dostie, the cause of the fire is undetermined and the extent of the damage makes it unlikely that a cause will be determined in the future.
Fire departments from Somerville, Jefferson, Windsor, Washington and Chelsea, responded to the scene. The Delta Ambulance Service was also on hand.
The scene was cleared at 2:13 p.m.