STARKS — A chain reaction involving slippery roads, an electricity outage and a fire started by a candle in a 5-year-old boy’s bedroom kept emergency responders busy Friday night.

In the end, it was a 16-year-old girl who put out most of the fire and rescued her four siblings, said Starks Fire Chief Julie Costigan.

“We were very lucky. That could very well have been a tragedy of five children if they had not been able to get out of that trailer or the 16-year-old had not been calm enough to grab that fire extinguisher,” she said. “Mobile homes go up really fast.”

The series of emergencies all started because Anson Road was slippery.

Heather Correia, 23, of Biddeford, was driving west on the road shortly before 6 p.m. and lost control when her 2004 Chevrolet hit an icy patch, said Maine State Police Trooper Peter Michaud.

Her vehicle went off the right side of the road, hit a utility pole, then spun around and hit a large tree, coming to rest partially in the road. The utility pole snapped at the base, cutting off the town’s electricity.

Correia complained of neck pain and was taken by ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, Michaud said. Her vehicle was destroyed.

Starks firefighters, who had responded to the crash, were back at the fire station putting away their gear and trucks when they got word around 7:45 p.m. of a fire at the home of two of their volunteer firefighters on Kimball Lane, Costigan said.

Because the electricity was out, Costigan knew it would take time to open the electric doors at the station, so she left in her personal vehicle to get quickly to the home of Larry and Debbie Ashby. She was first on scene.

By the time she got there, the couple’s 16-year-old daughter had used a fire extinguisher to put out most of the flames in her 5-year-old brother’s bedroom and prevented the blaze from spreading. She had also gotten her four siblings out of the house.

They had lit candles during the power outage, Costigan said.

When the girl noticed the fire, she had called her mother, who was en route and told her what to do. The mother then called 911.

The boy suffered first- and second-degree burns on his face and ear; and his mattress, clothing and toys were ruined, Costigan said. The parents declined to have an ambulance take the boy to the hospital and said they would take him themselves.

The walls and floor of his room were burned slightly, she said. Though the rest of the house suffered smoke damage, it can be saved.

Costigan said the girl had learned in school only a week ago how to use a fire extinguisher.

The Anson Fire Department responded initially, but Costigan turned them back once the fire was put out with more fire extinguishers.

The Madison Fire Department helped ventilate the house, and Anson-Madison-Starks Ambulance Service came to take care of the boy.

Costigan did not know whether the home was insured.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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