January 1

Fairfield home destroyed in New Year’s Eve fire

Fire crews use a school bus as makeshift warming center because of the cold.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FAIRFIELD — A mother and her adult son lost their Hutchins Road home late Tuesday to a fire.

click image to enlarge

GONE: The remains of this home were still smoldering on Wednesday after fire destroyed the home late Tuesday evening on Hutchins Road in Fairfield, leaving two people homeless. Fire officials think the fire might have started near the chimney and said it is not considered suspicious.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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The bitter cold made combating the late night fire a challenge, Fairfield Fire Chief Duane Bickford said.

Because of the extreme cold, he said, a school bus was sent to the scene and left running with the heat on, and fire crews used it to warm themselves up in shifts between bouts of fighting the fire.

“It was very difficult,” he said.

Bickford said a neighbor called and reported flames showing from the house at 9:40 p.m. The woman and her son were out of the house and uninjured when fire crews arrived at 9:55 p.m. Bickford said he did not have the first names of the residents on hand, but said their last name was Hutchins.

He said about 25 firefighters from eight towns, including Fairfield, responded to the fire.

He said the Fire Department has used a bus in the past to keep firefighters warm on cold nights, and the person in charge makes the call about whether to have a bus on scene.

“Knowing that it was so cold, we started the bus early,” he said.

Bickford said they kept the water running, which prevented major freezing problems from happening with the hoses.

The house was at the end of a narrow side road. Bickford said firefighters had one truck near the fire at the end of the road, and they positioned one truck in the middle of the road to help pump the water to fire crews.

Crews left the home by 4 a.m. Wednesday, he said.

The fire is thought to have started around the chimney area, and he said for now the fire marshals are calling the fire accidental.

The American Red Cross also was called to the fire and set the residents up with a hotel for the night.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252kschroeder@centralmaine.com
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