BELGRADE — When Jason Poulin first saw his sister’s car pull up Wednesday morning, he thought she might have been preparing to offer her congratulations.

He was taking an examination in Fairfield to be licensed as a commercial driver, and he had shut his phone off so that no calls would distract him.

In fact, many friends and family members tried to call Poulin on Wednesday morning, to tell him that the mobile home he rented on Smithfield Road in Belgrade had been destroyed by fire.

When he didn’t answer his phone, his sister drove to Fairfield to deliver the news in person.

No people were at home or injured during the fire, which was reported by a passer-by around 8:15 a.m.

Poulin’s 17-year-old son, Michael, also lived there and was in class Wednesday morning at Messalonskee High School. But the family’s dog, an old dalmatian-Labrador retriever mix named Vinnie, was killed in the fire.

“I’m doing about as good as can be expected,” Poulin said later Wednesday, in a phone interview. “I’m happy, obviously, that my son is OK.”

The fire was caused by an accidental electrical malfunction in the vicinity of the bedroom, said Sgt. Kenneth Grimes, of the state fire marshal’s office.

An investigator went through the home late Wednesday morning to determine the fire’s cause, after firefighters from Belgrade and several surrounding towns responded to reports of the blaze and knocked it down.

Dan Mackenzie, the Belgrade fire chief, said the home is probably a total loss, considering the interior damage. The home was not insured, and Poulin said numerous friends have offered him and his son places to stay.

Later Wednesday, he was taking care of a number of tasks, including making plans to bury his dog, and trying to find clothing and medication to get him and his son through the next few days.

After the fire, the American Red Cross of Maine announced it will provide financial assistance and community referrals to the Poulins, to ensure they have food, a safe place to sleep and other essentials in the coming days.

Poulin works in Gardiner at the Core-Mark supply business, formerly known as Pine State Trading Co.

“I’m trying to come up with a game plan,” Poulin said. “I’m very thankful for my good neighbors and family and friends. The awful, dreaded question is, ‘What are you doing? What’s your plan?’ I’m trying to wrap my head around everything. The plan is one step at a time.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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