A mother and her adult son were left homeless Tuesday after fire swept through their North Anson home, destroying their belongings and taking the life of their cat.

Anson Fire Chief Stacey Beane said the fire appears to have started in or near a fireplace and quickly spread to engulf the home at 12 Madison St. in the north village. She said the investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal have been called to inspect the scene in order to determine the cause of the fire, which first was reported just after 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Disaster responders from the American Red Cross were working with the people to ensure that they have food, a safe place to sleep and other essentials following the single-family home fire.

Over the next several days, the Red Cross will be in contact with them to provide financial assistance and community referrals as they begin to make their road to recovery, according to a news release from Ann Kim, director of external communications for the American Red Cross, Maine Region.

Beane said the homeowner, Shad Fitzherbert, had been doing some renovations to the home when his mother, Cindy McCaffery, who was upstairs, heard the smoke alarms going off in the two-story wood-framed home.

“He had a small wood fire going earlier in the day; it was in a fireplace,” Beane said by phone Wednesday. “He said there were flames coming out about 2 feet above the mantle of the fireplace, and he tried putting it out with a couple pails of water; and while he was doing that, his mother was dialing 911.”

Beane said fire crews from Anson, Madison, Skowhegan, Solon, Starks and Norridgewock responded to reports of the fire, as did firefighters from New Vineyard.

“By the time my first firefighter, my captain, Fred Mayo, got on scene, there were flames showing on the outside of the first floor, with extension into the second floor also,” she said. “The downfall was that it was an old enough building where it still had the clapboard and plaster on it. People had already done remodeling before him, so there was a lot of confined-space walls that it got into — nooks and crannies.”

Beane said the blown-in insulation also hampered firefighting efforts as the fire smoldered in isolated sections of the walls.

“We hung around there for quite a while and kept finding hot spots that we had to keep putting out,” she said.

She said the building was insured.

“It was pretty much gutted,” she said. “One cat was deceased in it.”

No one was injured.

The American Red Cross helps people affected by home fires and other disasters with their immediate physical needs and also provides them with emotional support. People wishing to support Red Cross Disaster Services can call (800) 733-2767 or visit <URL destination=”https://www.redcross.org/local/maine.html”>MaineRedCross.org.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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