Maine House Fire Injures More Than a Dozen Firefighters

July 14--LEBANON, Maine -- One firefighter was hospitalized and more than a dozen others were treated on-scene by paramedics for heat exhaustion and other related injuries while battling a three-alarm fire that destroyed a home on Windswept Drive Friday night.

Lebanon Rescue Department Assistant Chief Jason Cole said the homeowners were away and the house was unoccupied when the fire call was first received at 5:34 pm.

At this point, it's unknown where and how the fire originated. "We still don't know at this time," Cole said.

The Maine State Fire Marshal's Office has been notified and will be investigating.

Nearly a dozen area departments, including Lebanon, Alfred, Acton, Berwick, South Berwick, North Berwick, York and Milton, Rochester and Somersworth, N.H., responded to the scene at 56 Windswept Drive.

Efforts to extinguish the fire were severely hindered by the ranch home's remote location.

"The long narrow road made our efforts much more difficult," Cole said. He estimated they used roughly 1,000 feet of line to reach the home, located 100 to 200 yards down a long dirt road in Lebanon.

According to Cole, the fire was under control at approximately 6:30 p.m. However, the damage to the home was already severe. "It's a total loss," he said.

The owners of the home have since been notified.

The status of the firefighter transported from the scene to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester wasn't immediately known late Friday evening. Cole said due to the heat, high humidity, and additional heat from the fire, Friday's conditions were extremely difficult for responding firefighters.

"Now that it's under control the primary concern is making sure all firefighters are doing all right," Cole said.

Although the fire was declared to be under control at 6:30 p.m, several small fires along with heavy smoke could be visible shortly past 7 p.m. Fire trucks and ambulances were still rushing to the scene around 7:15 p.m.

Only sections of the home's walls remained standing in the aftermath of Friday's fire, which claimed the roof and destroyed the interior of the home. Fire crews were on scene until 10:25 p.m. Friday.

Copyright 2012 - Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.