AUGUSTA — City firefighters took a boat to reach an island home on Togus Pond Friday night that was destroyed by fire.

Augusta Fire Battalion Chief Dave Groder said firefighters extinguished the fire using portable pumps that they ferried to the island, which is known as Coon Island. The fire was reported about 5 p.m.

Firefighters were still there at about 7 p.m., as was an investigator with the Office of the State Fire Marshal. There was no information immediately available as to how the fire might have started. Battalion Chief Steve Leach was still at the scene at press time Friday.

Groder said there was power to the island, but he did not know if the building was occupied. No injuries were reported.

The fire department’s boat was launched from Tasker Road. Betty Stover, whose farm is on Tasker Road, said she could see flames reaching into the trees about 5 p.m.

Tom Renckens, who lives on nearby Young Road, said he saw the smoke rising as he was coming home and jumped in his kayak and paddled out to get a closer look.

“The whole house was just starting to get engulfed,” Renckens said. “I got to within maybe 30 feet or so (of the burning house). It was clear by the time I got there that the house was going to be gone. The trees nearby and a shed were starting to smoke.”

Renckens said he didn’t see any people on the island. He noticed an oil tank on fire, but said it didn’t explode.

Dick Harvey, a board member of the Togus Lake Association, said he watched the fire from afar with others, seeing flames shoot up through the tops of trees. Harvey said he didn’t know who owned the house, but described it as the second house from the north end of the island. He said the house is one of four on the island.

“I imagine there’s some shaken people,” Harvey said. “We did get quite a few calls from other neighbors wondering where it was.”


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