December 14, 2011

Anson fire leaves 5 homeless

ANSON -- Five people will have to find other places to live after an apartment building burned Monday night.

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DAMAGE: Victor Carrigan speaks from a room in his apartment building in Anson that was seriously damaged by fire on Monday evening. Carrigan said he plans to rebuild the structure.

david leaming

“Fortunately I’ve got good friends that are willing to help, and we’re going to rebuild.”

Victor Carrigan
Building owner

The back portion of the building at 166 River Road was destroyed, and the rest suffered smoke damage, but owner Victor Carrigan said he will build anew.

"Fortunately I've got good friends that are willing to help, and we're going to rebuild," he said on Tuesday, standing in a room filled with burned debris.

The fire appears to have started with a candle that likely burned down and caught hold of a table, Anson Fire Chief Alan Walker said.

The person living in the apartment with the unattended candle was out front talking with friends when Carrigan said he smelled smoke. So he walked around to the apartment entrance and saw smoke coming from the door.

When he opened the door, black smoke poured out, and he saw flames in the area where the candle had been, he said.

He called 911 around 7:15 p.m., and about 25 firefighters responded immediately, as they had all been gathered less than a mile down the road for their monthly meeting.

"They couldn't do much until they discontinued the power, so there was a point where I was just watching my house burn," Carrigan said. There were four apartments in the building.

Walker said firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading.

"We made one good stop. It didn't get into the main part of the building," he said.

Firefighters rescued Carrigan's cat, named Puddy Tat, though a tenant's kitten died from what was likely smoke inhalation.

The home was not insured. When Carrigan checked his mail at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, just four hours before the fire, he said he received a letter saying his insurance had been canceled for nonpayment.

Carrigan said he had made a partial payment and didn't remember receiving prior notice that the insurance was in danger of being canceled.

He looked on the bright side, though. "We'll recover. We will survive it. We will."

The Red Cross is helping, he said, and is paying for him to stay in a motel room for a few days.

An investigator with the Maine Fire Marshal's Office confirmed that the candle caused the fire, Walker said.

One woman, who Walker did not know, was injured when she tripped over a water hose and had to be taken in an ambulance to the hospital. Walker said he did not know the extent of her injuries.

Firefighters from Madison and Starks also responded. Rescue crews were on scene until about 10 p.m.

Erin Rhoda -- 612-2368

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