A two-story home at 17 Mt. Pisgah Road in Monmouth was destroyed early Wednesday morning after a fire started in a nearby, portable garage unit, then spread to the home.

The owner of the home and its sole occupant, 67-year-old Daryl Rudick, was able to safely leave the home, according to Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy. Rudick was also able to remove his pet cat from the building.

The fire was first reported by Rudick at 2:39 a.m. after he heard the sound of an explosion coming from the garage and discovered a fire was spreading from there to the home, Roy said.

Firefighters from Monmouth, Winthrop, Leeds, Wales and Greene responded to the scene and were there until 6:30 a.m., ultimately using about 10,000 gallons of water that they had trucked in.

The portable garage at the Mount Pisgah Road home consisted of a metal frame and a cover made of canvas, vinyl or a similar material, according to Roy. It was located about 5 feet from the home, so it took little time for the flames to spread. A stack of tires and a gas canister between the home and the detached garage may have provided extra kindling, Roy added.

“This went from just the detached garage to two stories fully involved in less than 5 minutes,” he said. “It was very fast.”

The fire gutted the first and second floors of the home, Roy said.

“It’s a complete tear down,” he said.

An electric wire fell on the Monmouth property during the response, and a Central Maine Power Co. worker also had to come to the scene to verify that it was not still electrified, Roy said.

Around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, fire crews were called back to the home when a neighbor spotted smoke coming from what was left of the building. The fire rekindled, and flames were shooting out of the building by the time crews returned to the scene. The crews spent another two-and-a-half hours knocking the fire down, according to Roy.

The home was insured, Roy said, and the American Red Cross was contacted to help with Rudick’s immediate needs.

Rudick was not at the scene later Wednesday morning, and a working phone number for him could not be found.

Roy, who also works as a private fire investigator, said the cause of the fire may have been electrical and did not appear suspicious. He did not call in the state fire marshal’s office to investigate it.

Rudick had finished a night shift at his job in Lewiston and returned home not long before the fire started, Roy said. He also turned on a garage light when he got home, which would have sent electricity to the standalone structure.

“Something could have shorted out,” Roy said. “I didn’t see any red flags.”

Area firefighters responded to the blaze on Wednesday morning after spending much of Tuesday at the Winthrop Post Office, which was also destroyed by a fire.

“It’s been a busy 24 hours,” Roy said.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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