BENTON — The owner of a Gogan Road house damaged by fire Thursday said he believes the fire started upstairs where he had been working on pipes earlier in the day.

Charles Stubenrod stood across the road with his son, Deril, as they watched firefighters from five towns battle the fire in the two-story house.

The elder Stubenrod said he had worked on baseboard heating lines in the master bathroom and closet upstairs earlier in the afternoon. An hour later, after he left the house, he learned it was on fire, he said.

“I was soldering the pipe, and I probably had an ember there that I didn’t catch,” he said.

Deril Stubenrod, 42, his wife, Patty, 33, and their two boys, Matthew, 7, and Charles, 6, live in the house. Charles Stubenrod, 65, does not.

Fairfield fire Lt. Mike Murphy rescued one of the family’s two cats, Mittens, but the other cat, Daisy, was unaccounted for as of late afternoon.

Fairfield fire Chief Duane Bickford said he believed the fire started in the second floor bathroom.

“It was a very good stop (of the fire),” he said. “Mutual aid crews worked very well together.”

Bickford said he was unsure of the extent of the damage upstairs. The first floor sustained heat and water damage, he said.

Around 4 p.m., Bickford said a state fire marshal’s office investigator was on the way to the scene. The fire was reported to the Clinton Fire Department at 2:41 p.m. by a passerby.

About 35 firefighters from Fairfield, Clinton, Winslow, Albion and Waterville worked at the scene. Delta Ambulance, Clinton police and Kennebec County sheriff’s officials helped block the road to traffic.

Meanwhile, Charles Stubenrod blamed himself for not being more careful.

“It was stupid,” he said.

His son looked at it differently. “I have four simple words: It was an accident,” he said.

Charles Stubenrod said he has owned the 11-room house about 20 years and has done extensive work.

“I started 20 years ago. I gutted the whole house and put it back together; all new wiring, insulation, sheet rock, walls, you name it.”

He said the house is insured and he will fix the damage.

Deril Stubenrod is a former dispatcher for Fairfield Fire Department and current student at Kennebec Valley Community College, where he is studying to become an emergency medical technician. His wife is a certified nursing assistant. They have lived in the house about a year, he said.

The couple were not at home when the fire started. He was out applying for jobs, and they returned home to find firefighters battling the blaze, he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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