Bingham Fire Chief Scott Lawyerson and firefighter Garred Strickland were finishing the suppression of a fire at a log cabin on U.S. Route 201 in The Forks early Friday morning when a wall collapsed, injuring the two men.

“We were throwing water at it for quite some time and it hadn’t wiggled or moved,” Lawyerson said. “There were some flames underneath an aluminum skirting, and Garred was opening up that aluminum so I could get some water in it, when the wall just suddenly collapsed.”

The fire, first reported at 2:19 a.m. at 2777 U.S. Route 201, destroyed the cabin, which was owned by the Inn by the River. The cabin was housing for the inn’s staff. An employee, Micky Thornton, lived there, according to innkeeper Jason Strout.

Thornton was in the cabin when the fire started and he escaped, although he suffered minor injuries when he went back into the cabin to get his dog, said Heather Sylvester, a West Forks firefighter and the department’s chaplain. Thornton suffered burns on his back, according to Strout, and was taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, Sylvester said. The dog survived.

Lawyerson said later Friday that he had gone to the hospital also and would be OK. Strickland was being taken to a hospital in Portland for treatment of a neck injury, but it was not life-threatening, Lawyerson said. He was not sure what hospital Strickland was taken to.

“We both had on helmets and full gear and that’s what saved us,” he said. “It came down on both of us, but the guys behind us pulled it up enough that I could crawl out.”

Strickland was pinned under the wall temporarily, but Lawyerson said he helped the other firefighters lift the wall enough for him to get out.

“He was hurting pretty bad,” Sylvester said. “The wall where the wood stove was came down without any notice. All of a sudden something went crack, and the whole wall came down.”

“I’ve only been on the department for two years. It’s the scariest call I’ve ever been on,” she added.

According to Sylvester, the state fire marshal’s office said the wood stove probably caused the fire.

About four firefighters from West Forks and at least seven from Bingham responded to the fire, she said, and were on scene until about 5:40 a.m.

“He was in good spirits last time I talked to him,” Lawyerson said of Stickland. “My personal opinion is that he’s going to be fine, but it’s probably going to require a little recoup time.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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