WINTHROP — A family of three is homeless after a two-story home with an attached garage was destroyed by a fire Thursday afternoon at 145 Maranacook Road in Winthrop.

A mother, Cathy Halsey, and her son who lived in the home noticed the fire after it started in the garage, said Dan Brooks, chief of the Winthrop Fire Department. They got out safely, as did a pig that was living in their garage.

The first report of the fire was made shortly before 3 p.m., and by 3:30 p.m. the building was fully engulfed in flames. By 4 p.m. the fire was largely contained, but firefighters still were attacking it with water and planning to look for hot spots inside.

Halsey’s husband, Ray Halsey, was not at home at the time. At least one dog and some chickens also lived there and weren’t harmed in the fire, but cats might have died, Brooks said. A mobile home located on the property, where another person was living, wasn’t harmed, Brooks added.

The American Red Cross of Maine announced Thursday night that it was providing the family with food and shelter and would provide financial assistance to them in the coming days.

The family, which was unavailable for comment Thursday, had owned the home for a couple years, Brooks said. The building was insured.


According to Brooks, Cathy Halsey said that a heat lamp was running on the garage’s first floor, where the pig was living, and might have started the blaze. She apparently had moved some things around shortly before it started.

That explanation was consistent with the way the fire seemed to have spread through the building, Brooks said.

A representative of the state fire marshal’s office was going to the home Thursday night to determine the fire’s precise cause.

The use of heat lamps to warm animals, usually birds, has caused several fires in central Maine in the last few years. From 2016 to 2017, the devices sparked fires in Vassalboro, Wilton and Strong. In 2012, a heat lamp also caused a blaze in Farmingdale.

Maranacook Road is off Route 41 in Winthrop, on the west side of Maranacook Lake. When the fire was reported, towns in the Lakes Region Mutual Fire Aid Association were called to help.

The road was busy as tanker trucks drove back and forth to downtown Winthrop, a couple minutes away, to retrieve water from Maranacook Lake. Rain was falling throughout the response, and the sun had largely set by 5 p.m., leaving firefighters to work in the dark for the next couple hours.


Photographer Joe Phelan contributed to this report.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

Twitter: @ceichacker

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