SIDNEY — The cause of a fire that destroyed a mobile home on West River Road on Tuesday remains unknown, according to state and local fire officials.

“There’s too much damage right now for us to actually determine an origin or cause, and I don’t know if we will have one,” said Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Homeowner Barbara St. Pierre, 69, lost everything in the fire, including three cats.

State fire investigators went to the scene Tuesday, but firefighters were still putting out hot spots, so investigators returned Wednesday morning, Grimes said.

They are not sure where the fire started in the home, he said.

“We don’t believe it was a furnace issue,” he said. “It does not appear to be a malfunction of the furnace, but anything beyond that, we’re not able to pinpoint.”

When firefighters arrived around 12:15 p.m. at the home at 2835 West River Road, fire already was in the ceiling and roof and they had a difficult time getting water to the flames, Fire Chief Richard Jandreau said Wednesday.

“It made it tough (to fight) because there was an old metal roof with roofing on top of it,” he said.

St. Pierre said Tuesday that she was having her furnace repaired and workers were on a lunch break when she discovered the fire.

But Jandreau said there was no fire around the furnace, so officials determined that that was not the origin.

“She (St. Pierre) was very lucky she got out,” he said. “It was a very, very fast fire — a very hot fire.”

The mobile home was paid for and insured, but St. Pierre did not have enough insurance to cover everything she lost, he said.

She rented the land the home stood on, he said.

Two or three hours after the fire started, a passer-by from Sidney stopped and handed St. Pierre some cash, which was touching, according to Jandreau.

“She didn’t want to take it; she started crying,” he said.

Jandreau said St. Pierre was able to rescue one cat and a dog.

About 20 firefighters from Sidney, Belgrade, Oakland and Winslow worked at the scene.

They were able to protect a barn that was about 10 feet from the mobile home, Jandreau said.

He said St. Pierre is staying with her son.

The American Red Cross also is helping her.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]