WATERVILLE — Firefighters worked to quell a house fire Thursday at 8 Colonial St. that is believed to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit in the attic.

The fire at the two-story, shingled home of Richard Leaman and Shirleyanne Ratajczak was reported at 11:34 a.m., and firefighters had it extinguished by about 12:30 p.m.

Leaman was home at the time of the fire and said he was on the floor beneath the attic when he realized something was wrong.

“I actually went into the bathroom and I felt the heat on my head, and I called 911 immediately and they got here really quick,” Leaman said at the scene.

Colonial Street is a short street between Sanger and Boutelle avenues in the city’s North End. Leaman’s house is diagonally across Colonial from the entrance to Pleasantdale Avenue.

About 20 firefighters from the Waterville and Winslow fire departments, police and a Delta Ambulance crew were at the scene, where neighbors were out doing yard work and spectators stood watching the activity.

Fire Chief David LaFountain spoke to Leaman on the lawn of the house as firefighters worked.

“He suspected when he found a couple of circuits tripped that he had a problem going on in the attic,” LaFountain said just after noon. Smoke was coming out of the roof at the time.

“They’re cooling down hot embers of insulation,” LaFountain said of firefighters working in the attic.

He said the attic, which has large windows overlooking the back of the house, looks more like an apartment.

Leaman went to his car to make a cellphone call to his wife, who he said was in New Jersey because their daughter-in-law was due to have a baby. Both he and his wife are artists, he said.

“The birth has been delayed, so she’s coming home tomorrow,” he said.

He said he has lived in the house 35 years, and his wife has been there about 45.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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