SKOWHEGAN — A mobile home fire that severely burned a mother and her young son on Friday started in the boy’s bedroom, a state fire investigator said Wednesday.

Andrea Curtis, 24, who lived in the mobile home, remains hospitalized at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Her son, Tyler Curtis-Benson, 4, has been at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston since they were pulled from the fire just before 8:30 p.m. Friday by Skowhegan police Officer Tim Williams, who is being hailed this week as a hero.

Curtis’ cousin, Tylene Bergeron, said the conditions of both mother and son are improving.

“She’s better today, much better,” Bergeron said Wednesday. “They’re coming around. Andrea is still critical, but she is much better than she was. She’s doing really good compared to what she was doing. Tyler has improved a lot and is off the ventilator, finally.

“Andrea will have a long road of recovery. So will her little boy.”

Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the Office of State Fire Marshal, said investigators know where the fire started, but they still don’t know how it started. He said investigator Stu Jacobs returned to the fire scene Wednesday at 279 North Ave. in Skowhegan to look for more clues.


“We’re having some difficulty classifying the fire as far as what actually caused it,” Grimes said Wednesday. “We were back up there on scene today with the electrical inspectors taking a look at some electrical appliances, so we’re still picking away at it.”

Bergeron said Curtis has burns over 60 percent of her body and lost the skin on her face, but is improving, as is her son, who has burns over 40 percent of his body.

A Shriners Hospital spokesperson would not release information about the boy’s condition. A hospital spokesman at Maine Medical Center in Portland did not return calls immediately Wednesday for an update on Curtis’ condition and that of another woman, Michelle Sweet, who was injured Monday in another fire in Skowhegan.

Williams, 51, the police officer, said he was just doing his job as a first responder when he crawled on his belly through thick smoke into the burning mobile home to pull the two unconscious people to safety.

Curtis, a full-time student at University of Maine at Farmington, is studying education and plans to become a teacher when she graduates in the spring, her cousin said. She said a GoFundMe page has been set up for Curtis and her family, who lost everything in the fire that destroyed their home. Curtis’ husband, Tyler’s stepfather, Brian Armstrong, was at work when the fire broke out Friday night.

By Wednesday afternoon, a total of $6,780 had been raised on the GoFundMe page, with a goal of $20,000.


Bergeron said Curtis paid cash for the mobile home but rented the lot where it stood. She said the family is not insured and doesn’t know where they will live once Curtis and her son are released from the hospital.

Bergeron said of her cousin: “They lost everything. They need everything.”

Bryan Armstrong needs 32-inch waist, 32-inch length pants and men’s medium tops. Tyler and Curtis can wear only white clothing when they are released to prevent infection, she said. Tyler wears a size 6 boys’ clothing.

The Kennebec Valley Inn in Skowhegan is hosting a benefit spaghetti supper for the family from noon until 6 p.m. Dec.17.

A donation of $7 per plate will include salad, spaghetti and beverage, according to the inn’s Facebook page. There will be no alcohol sales during the event so visitors can bring their children. A silent auction also will take place.

The Full Drive Band, featuring Nashville singer-songwriter and 2005 Rockabilly Hall of Fame member Eddie Lee Van Zant is scheduled to perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., after the dinner. Van Zant will be selling autographed pictures with all proceeds going to Curtis and her son.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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