February 7, 2013

Family homeless after Waterville fire destroys home

Careless disposal of wood stove ash to blame, said Fire Marshal's Office

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- A family was left homeless Thursday after fire destroyed their belongings and the 21/2-story wood frame home they were renting on Squire Street.

click image to enlarge

Firefighters battle a blaze on Squire Street in Waterville Thursday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Kimberly Guite, 46, is comforted by Lt. Scott Holst, right, as her rental home burns on Squire Street in Waterville Thursday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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Kimberly Guite, 46, her daughter, Paige Guite, 18, and Kimberly's boyfriend, Bruce Aucoin, 48, were at the home when the fire broke out, according to fire officials.

The women ran out of the burning house in their stockings. Kimberly Guite sat cross-legged on a driveway across the street and was comforted by fire Lt. Scott Holst.

"They left the building in a hurry and they don't have anything," Fire Chief David LaFountain said at the scene of the fire, which was reported at 10:57 a.m. The State Fire Marshal's Office later determined that careless disposal of wood stove ash had caused the fire, according to fire Lt. Shawn Esler.

Paige Guite's twin brother, Jacob Guite, also lived in the house, but was not home when the fire occured, according to a relative.

The Guites' home at 12 Squire St. is on a steep hill that abuts Burleigh Street.

Kimberly Guite's mother, Laura Guite, said her daughter moved into the house before Christmas and had no renter's insurance. She also said she had two cats, but it was unknown whether they survived.

The house is owned by Dana Lee, of Belgrade, according to fire officials.

John Howland, who lives across the street, watched as thick black smoke rolled out of the house just after the fire started.

"I know they've got a wood stove in there, because they've been chopping wood like it's going out of style," he said.

About 25 firefighters worked at the scene in temperatures that dipped into the low teens. Firefighters from Waterville and Winslow battled the blaze and Oakland firefighters were stationed on Burleigh Street, where the backs of houses were close to the burning home.

Police blocked off Western Avenue to traffic; a section of Burleigh Street also was closed.

The American Red Cross was on its way to the scene just after noon. A Delta Ambulance crew stood by on Western Avenue and kept the fire victims warm in an ambulance.

Around 1:30 p.m., another ambulance was called to the scene to aid a firefighter who reportedly had twisted a knee.

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Kimberly Guite, 46, left, leaps over a pool of water in her socks with the help of Waterville Fire department Lt. Scott Holst, on Squire Street in Waterville Thursday. Guite lost her rental home to fire. Guite narrowly escaped a fire that broke out in her home. She didn't have time to put her shoes on.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Firefighters battle a house fire on Squire Street in Waterville Thursday morning.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans


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