December 10, 2012

Cornville house fire ignites ammunition, fireworks

'It sounded like a war zone with ammunition going off everywhere,' a neighbor says.

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

CORNVILLE -- A two-story home in a remote area of town was destroyed by fire early Monday morning, igniting ammunition and fireworks, according to a neighbor.

click image to enlarge

Homeowner Mike Smith, center, speaks with Cornville Fire Chief Ken Hogate, left, and neighbor Dale Emery, as smoke rises from the remains of his home, which was destroyed by fire on Monday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

"It sounded like a war zone with ammunition going off everywhere," said Dale Emery of North Babcock Road, a neighbor of Mike Smith, whose home was destroyed.

Emery said he saw flames shooting 75 feet above the wood frame house that was built about 15 years ago.

Emery said Smith works in the southern part of the state and was not home Monday when the blaze first broke out at about 1:15 a.m.

No injuries were reported.

Smith said at the scene that he had shingled his roof Sunday afternoon and had a fire going in his wood stove. He said he left the house about 6:30 p.m.

Cornville Fire Chief Ken Hogate said the wood stove was on the first floor, in the middle of the house, but it may never be known how or where the fire started because of the extent of the destruction.

"The roof of the house had already fallen in when we got there. It's burned right into the cellar," Hogate said. "There was an attached garage and the fire was burning into that, so it started in the house -- it didn't start in the garage, but that's gone, too."

Fire crews with 25-30 firefighters from Cornville, Canaan, Skowhegan, Athens, Hartland and Pittsfield responded to the fire scene. North Babcock Road is off Moody Town Road, near East Ridge Road.

Hogate said Smith was insured, but he did not know Monday if there will be an investigation into the cause of the blaze. He estimated damage and loss of property and equipment to be more than $100,000.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367

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