AUGUSTA — A fire at a home-occupied antiques business off North Belfast Avenue was doused by crews before spreading Tuesday morning as the temperature was around zero degrees.

“It was a close call,” said Roger Audette, chief of the Augusta Fire Department. “If it had been much longer, it would have spread. The crews did a great job.”

A woman who lives there at StonyBrook Antiques, 3381 North Belfast Ave., had left Tuesday morning to take her children to school; and when she returned, the house was full of smoke, Audette said. She called 911 around 8:45 a.m.

Crews raced over from the heart of Augusta to the eastern edge of the city, about 6 miles away. Traffic was reduced to one lane for about a half-hour on that section of the avenue, also designated as Route 3.

“When we responded, we found fire in the basement. It started around the furnace,” Audette said. “It’s good she came home when she did. It doesn’t take much for a fire to get a head start.”

There were no water hydrants in the area, so crews from neighboring Chelsea were called to bring a water tanker. Augusta firefighters, who numbered 16 at the scene, were able to douse the flames with the water from Chelsea.

The woman was evaluated for smoke inhalation but was not taken to the hospital, Audette said.

The chief said the fire damage was minimal and the family was not displaced; however, the Fire Department has contacted a company that services the furnace.

“We’re thankful,” Audette said. “It was great work by the firefighters in a house full of smoke.”

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