SOLON — Investigators are working to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a home on Hole in the Wall Road late Monday afternoon.

The fire, at 730 Hole in the Wall Road, destroyed a home belonging to Chris and Anita Goodman, said Solon Fire Chief Dwight Rollins. High wind and dry conditions helped the fire spread across acres of surrounding field and into the nearby woods, he said.

Chris Goodman said he had gone to look at a piece of property with some friends Monday afternoon and returned to find his house on fire. The fire was reported at 5:19 p.m.

“We were gone about two hours and when we came back the house was gone,” Goodman said. He declined to comment further.

Firefighters from Anson, Athens, Cambridge, Harmony, Madison and Solon responded to the fire, along with several nearby residents who helped put the fire out along the edges of the field, using rakes and brooms.

The Maine Forest Service said Monday the state is at “very high” risk for wildfires and had issued a red flag alert for wildfires across the state.

“With the wind and it being as dry as it is and this being an older house, it spread fast,” Rollins said of the Solon fire. He said the fire is not considered suspicious and there were no injuries.

The cause of the fire was unknown Monday night and Rollins said he had contacted the Office of the State Fire Marshal to see if they would be investigating.

“I don’t know if they will,” he said. “It would be hard because of the extent of the damage.”

Kent Nelson, a fire prevention specialist with the fire service, said the lack of significant rain for several days has made conditions “very dry.”

“This is a vulnerable time of year, the grass and the flowers have not greened up yet. When they green up, they have more moisture and obviously are more resistant to fire,” he said.

The “very high” fire danger rating is the second most serious rating in the national five-degree wildfire danger rating system, exceeded only by an “extreme danger,” and means that fires can start easily from various causes and spread rapidly.

There have been 400 to 450 wildfires in Maine during each of the past few years, Nelson said, with two-thirds of them breaking out in the spring.

“The most common cause is human, someone who starts off with good intentions,” he said. “They get a permit and start burning, and either it gets out of control or it’s not fully extinguished.”

Other accidental causes seen frequently at this time of year are fires started when the blade of cutting equipment hits a rock and causes a spark, or when a motor vehicle with a hot catalytic converter is driven onto an area of dry vegetation.

The National Weather Service extended forecast for central Maine calls for a slight chance of rain and Tuesday, with no significant rainfall expected in the region before Saturday afternoon or evening.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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