WATERVILLE — A 60-year-old man died early Monday morning when his mobile home at 17 Pooler’s Parkway burned to the ground.

David Chamberlain was found by firefighters in the rubble of the home in the mobile home park off Grove Street in the city’s South End, according to a news release from Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

A neighbor discovered the fire about 3:30 a.m., and the mobile home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Waterville Fire Department Capt. Shawn Esler.

Investigators were still attempting to pinpoint the cause of the fire, which destroyed the mobile home in the Grove Street Trailer Court. Chamberlain’s body was found near his bedroom.

Twisted blackened wreckage was all that remained of the trailer on Monday morning. The mobile home is at the end of the dead-end private road, clustered with several other similar residences.

Investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal and Waterville police were still there late morning Monday. At the scene of the fire Monday, Maine Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said that the state medical examiner’s office was performing an autopsy on Chamberlain to determine a cause of death. Investigators will wait for an official cause of death before going through the remains of the mobile home, but were interviewing residents who reported the fire to help find out how it started.

Esler said a caller who reported the fire also said there was an explosion, but there was no further information Monday morning on whether there was or what would have caused it.

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find one structure on fire and the flames spreading to another mobile home, Esler said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire on the second building and then focused efforts on the building where the fire originated, Esler said.

It took 15 firefighters several hours to fight the blaze, he said. The fire report shows it was extinguished at 5 a.m.

“Anytime there is a building fire it is sometimes hard to access,” Eslar said. “There is debris and stuff in the way to hinder suppression efforts.”

No firefighters were injured, he said.

Neighbors said that Chamberlain was disabled and used a wheelchair. A long metal ramp was outside the remains of the mobile home.

Gene Paulette, who lives in a mobile home across the street from Chamberlain’s home, said that he initially didn’t think much about the firetrucks when he saw them Monday morning and didn’t realize there was a fire until later.

Emergency personnel were frequently called to help Chamberlain because of his disability, and people from the VA hospital at Togus would come by periodically to take him to appointments, Paulette said.

He and his wife usually chatted with Chamberlain when he went by the house on his motorized wheelchair, Paulette said. The couple once helped Chamberlain back into his chair after he tipped over coming back from a run to Hannaford supermarket.

Chamberlain had lived in the trailer for quite a while, although Paulette could not recall how many years. His neighbor first lived there with his father, then by himself after his father died.

Merle Fisher, who owns the next-door mobile home that was damaged during the fire, said the two tenants who were living there will be put up in one of the other mobile homes he owns until he can make repairs.

He hasn’t been inside the one he owns yet, but said the fire had melted siding and broken some windows.

Chamberlain’s death was one of two by fire overnight in the state. The two deaths were the first by fire in the state in 2016, McCausland said.

Barry Dunlap, 55, of 8 Bear Run in Gorham, died after fire broke out in his kitchen Sunday night, McCausland said. Fire investigators said it appears Dunlap was deep-frying on the kitchen stove when the oil caught fire and ignited the kitchen cabinets, and Dunlap suffered severe burns attempting to put the fire out, McCausland said.

He was found on the kitchen floor by firefighters, and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful after the fire was discovered by a neighbor at about 6:45 p.m., McCausland said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]ine.com

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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