A fast moving fire in Caratunk destroyed a house, a camp and a garage early Sunday morning, though firefighters were able to extinguish it before it spread.

Bingham Fire Chief Scott Laweryson said no one was hurt in the Main Street fire, though he did not have the names of the two property owners or who was staying at the camp.

“The story goes that someone saw the smoke from Route 201 and drove down to the village of Caratunk and started blowing the horn of the car and got however many people there were in the camp to come out,” said Laweryson.

He said all three structures were burned to the ground in the fire and were beyond saving by the time Bingham Fire Department, which covers Caratunk, arrived with mutual aid from Solon, Jackman and West Forks. He said the focus of the 25 firefighters was to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading anywhere else.

“The main house was on fire, the garage behind it was lost and one house standing beside it was lost,” he said.

The rural area, said Laweryson, is a challenge to cover with long distances between neighboring fire departments.


“It’s a 20-minute ride for us. By the time we get toned, the fire had a pretty good head start. It had a pretty good head start before anyone could see it.”

Caratunk has no hydrant system so the fire departments had to use a team of tanker trunks from all the departments to shuttle water back and forth from the Kennebec River. The fire departments quickly organized a relay system to get the water to the scene.

“That’s the big hindrance up there,” he said.

“What we have on the trucks only lasts us a couple of minutes.”

He said fire marshals will investigate the cause of the fire.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252


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