ALBION — Firefighters were able to prevent a fire that ignited from a metal barrel from doing too much damage to a fitness center on Friday, although a mobile home in its path was destroyed.
“The size of the fire was a challenge — having a mobile home, a field and a large building all on fire at the same time with limited resources and water supply,” said Shawn Esler, assistant fire chief for the Albion Fire Department. “My guys made the right decisions and prevented the fire from getting any further.”
The cause of the fire is officially undetermined, but is believed to have started outside in a barrel that boys were burning wood scraps in. One of the boys suffered minor burns trying to put the fire out, according to Esler.
The fire spread to the mobile home as well as the Albion Athletic Club, a large fitness and storage center next door.
Jessica Alley, 35, said she wasn’t home when the fire started, although her brother, Charles Frost Jr., was home with her son and two friends. The mobile home, at 651 Winslow Road, was being torn down and most of the family’s belongings had been moved out, according to Frost.
He said the boys wanted to burn some small scraps of wood and he let them do it in a metal barrel. They thought the fire had been extinguished and Frost had left with one of the boys when the fire reignited, according to Frost.
“We had made sure it was out, but it was smoldering and the wind just picked it up,” he said.
One of the boys was injured trying to put the fire out, according to Esler, and had minor burns on his hand and forehead.
The fire, which was originally reported as a brush fire, spread across a dry field where the house was located and up the side of the athletic club, which had minor damage to the outside.
Esler said the mobile home was destroyed.
According to the Maine Forest Service, the risk for fire in Kennebec County on Friday was high. “Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common,” according to the warning on the forest service website.
The fire service is investigating the cause of the fire and the Office of the State Fire Marshal has also been notified, said Esler. Firefighters from China Village, Fairfield, Freedom and Winslow also responded.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 firstname.lastname@example.org