MADISON — A family of five was displaced Monday after the house they rented on Old Point Avenue was damaged by a fire.

The fire was reported about 12:30 p.m. on the second floor of the two-story house at 88 Old Point Ave. The road is also U.S. Route 201A, one of the main streets through Madison, and it was blocked to traffic Monday afternoon as crews battled the blaze.

Wendy Vartania said her daughter and her grandchildren lived in the house and that her 8-year-old granddaughter alerted the rest of the family, all of whom were home sick with the flu, to the fire.

“Thank God I just live down the road,” Vartania said. “My daughter called me and she was freaking out. I was trying to stay calm when she told me there was a fire and that I may have to come get them.”

The home belongs to Charlie Poissioneer but was being rented by Glen and Melanie Cossaboom, who lived there with their three children, according to Madison Deputy Fire Chief Don French.

He said 8-year-old Darryn Cossaboom alerted the rest of her family to the fire after noticing flames on her bedroom wall.

“I think she did a very good thing,” French said of the girl. “She did the right thing in alerting her parents, who were then able to get the whole family out. They did a good job getting out and then alerting us.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Office of the Maine State Fire Marshal, though it is not considered suspicious, French said.

Both Poissioneer and the Cossabooms were at the scene Monday afternoon but declined to comment, but Poissioneer did say he had insurance on the house.

The damage to the second floor was extensive and the ground floor was heavily damaged by smoke, French said. He said the family will not be able to return to the house and also lost a lot of children’s clothing, though firefighters were able to stop the fire from destroying the entire house.

“It was a very good stop,” French said, adding that flames were just starting to show out of the upstairs windows when firefighters arrived. Firefighters from Anson, Madison, Norridgewock and Skowhegan responded to the scene, while firefighters from Athens and Solon were on standby.

Vartania said she told her granddaughter, ‘You’re a hero. You saved your whole family.”

She said the family will be staying with her since they were unable to return to their home Monday. The Red Cross was also contacted.

Donations of children’s clothing are welcome and can be dropped off at 23 Lowe St. in Madison. The children include two girls, ages 8 and 1, and a boy age 7.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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