A Winthrop family is homeless after a Wednesday night fire destroyed the house they rented on Annabessacook Drive.
Winthrop Fire Chief Dan Brooks said the man and wife, and their two teenage children, were able to get out of the home safely, but the split-level ranch and garage they rented at 72 Annabessacook Drive were destroyed.
Brooks did not know the names of the family living at the home or the owners, but according to town tax records, the property is owned by John and Claudene Raymond.
Brooks was not sure if the family had renters insurance or if the home itself is insured.
“The roof on the house and the garage are completely burned off,” Brooks said. “There’s a little bit salvageable, but for the most part they’ve lost everything.”
The family stayed Wednesday night with a neighbor, Brooks said.
Several animals, including a dog and cats, were rescued from the fire. A cat was unaccounted for early Thursday morning.
Brooks said the fire likely started around a chimney in the area between the home and attached garage. The fire then spread to the attic area and garage. An investigator from the state fire marshal’s office did an initial investigation Thursday morning and was expected to return later in the day, but the outbreak of four fires in Lewiston has delayed that timetable, Brooks said.
“It’s not suspicious or anything like that,” Brooks said.
The fire was reported around 11:45 p.m. when one of the couple’s sons smelled smoke coming from the chimney outside his basement-level bedroom. The son, who was the only one awake, alerted his family, who briefly searched for a cause before fleeing the home, Brooks said.
“By the time the homeowners realized they had a fire it was venting itself out,” Brooks said. He said the home was outfitted with working smoke detectors but that the boy actually warned the family before the detectors went off.
Monmouth, Manchester and Augusta firefighters assisted Winthrop crews in battling the blaze. Firefighters had the fire under control in about 90 minutes, Brooks said. Crews remained, dousing hot spots and mopping up, until 3 a.m.
Craig Crosby — firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @CraigCrosby4