KENNEBUNK – A 19-year old sleeping in a basement bedroom awoke at 4:39 a.m. Wednesday to smoke and alerted four family members sleeping on the first floor at a residence in Kennebunk. No one was injured as fire severely damaged the home.

Had the young woman not been awakened, the outcome might have been very different, said Kennebunk Fire Chief Jeff Rowe at the scene on Wednesday morning.

He said that the fire gutted the home at 681 Webber Hill Road, also known as Route 99, in Kennebunk and a family of three renting the single-family dwelling is displaced. They are being assisted by the American Red Cross of Maine and Rowe said they are staying with relatives.

The family of three, Carl and Barbara Morin and their daughter Charli, had moved into the home about six weeks ago, after their former rental was sold, Rowe said.

They were joined on Tuesday by two other family members from out of town who had come to stay for an early Christmas celebration. The group had opened Christmas gifts and then went to sleep.

Rowe said that investigators from the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office are trying to determine the cause of the early morning fire, but he said it is accidental. It was reported as a fire in the basement.

Dana Weeman, the owner of the home, said it was built in 1978. Both the homeowner and the renters had insurance, according to Rowe.

At around 10 a.m. Wednesday, the house was still smouldering, and the fire chief said the roof of the house at the rear of the home had collapsed, so it was not safe to put firefighters inside to tackle the still-burning fire.

He said crews were awaiting the arrival of heavy equipment to take the house down so firefighters could resume their work.

Rowe said there was heavy fire showing from both the front and rear of the house when firefighters arrived at the scene.

Firefighters from 10 departments responded to the fire, ferrying tankers with water from a hydrant about 1 ½ miles away over the Sanford city line.

The barn, full of dry hay and in a field away from the house, was saved.

Two of the family dogs were brought to safety, but two other dogs and a cat were missing as of mid-morning on Wednesday.

Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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