The state fire marshal’s office reported Friday that the cause of a fire that took the life of a North Anson man Thursday was accidental.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said investigators found that the fire started when combustibles located too close to an electric heater caught fire and the flames spread through the home of 63-year-old William Bloom.

It was the first fire fatality in 2019 in Maine. McCausland said there were 21 fire-related fatalities in 2018.

Bloom was a book lover who lived alone, a neighbor said Thursday.

Leonard Rafferty, a neighbor and friend of Bloom, said he was an intelligent man who attended church and surrounded himself with books.

Rafferty, 47, said Bloom had no family and lived alone, just around the corner from Pinkham’s Elm Street Market in North Anson, where he often would get his meals.

Another man, Mark E. Eckert, of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, said in an email to the Morning Sentinel that he had been best friends with Bloom.

“The man who died in the house fire of earlier today was William Bradford Bloom, originally of Old Lancaster Avenue, Devon, Pennsylvania,” Eckert wrote Thursday. “Bill and I were best friends for 40 years, and it is very sad to hear what happened. Bill asked me to take care of his estate, and I hope to contact the funeral director (Friday) to begin planning his final arrangements.”

Eckert said Bloom worked for many years as a missionary and as a bookkeeper for Miller Mason & Dickenson in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, as well as a computer support and database person for various mission agencies in the Wayne, Pennsylvania, area.

Rafferty, an electronics specialist, also is a minister at High Praises Lighthouse Church in Madison. He said he met with Bloom at Bible studies last year. He said his family invited him for Christmas in 2017 and bought presents for him.

“He went to the Congregational Church around the corner. It was within walking distance,” Rafferty said. “He was very nice, very outgoing. He lived alone. He liked his reading. The last relative that he had, many years ago, was his mother, and she passed aways.

“He has no brothers, no sisters. We felt bad that he would be alone at Christmas.”

Rafferty said Bloom suffered from narcolepsy, often falling asleep without warning. He also suffered from short-term memory loss, so he always carried a pocket computer with him to remind him of things he had planned to do for the day. Rafferty said Bloom worked with computer systems and database systems.

“He was not well off,” he said. “I would say he was impoverished. He actually was quite a hoarder, and I warned him of possible hazards of housekeeping, because he collected a lot of books. He had stacks and stacks of books. He was very smart, very well spoken. He was sharp.”

He said Bloom owned the house where he died.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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