Back-to-back fires in Manchester and Fayette left area fire departments thin Tuesday morning.

A fire at 233 Prescott Road in Manchester was reported around 7 a.m., according to emergency radio dispatches. Firefighters still were battling that blaze when, around 10:15 a.m., a call went out about a fire at 124 Lovejoy Shores Drive in Fayette.

Amanda Zink, who now lives and Florida and vacations in Maine during the summer, grew up in the Manchester house. Her parents owned it from about 1973 to about 2005.

“It’s sad,” she said. “It’s just really sad.”

The house was built in 1836 by the Prescotts, for whom the road was named later, Zink said. It is one of the oldest homes in Manchester.

The house, which was called the Byron house, had a fireplace in every room and rooms in the back that probably were servants’ quarters, according to the historical book “Manchester Maine 1775-1975.”

This house was the first to have electricity on the road and the first to have telephones, according to the book.

“(The house) was such a big stable in the neighborhood,” Zink said. “We played hide-and-seek and tag.”

Zink’s family also had a 100-acre horse farm on the property.

About 25 firefighters went from the Manchester fire to Fayette, which started by the stove in the kitchen, Fayette Fire Chief Marty Maxwell said.

“The first thing I thought was, thank the Lord it’s still standing,” said Baul Leger, the owner of the house.

The amount of damage is not yet known, Maxwell said.

Firefighters from Fayette, Readfield, Wayne, Mount Vernon, Vienna and Manchester were all dealing with the Manchester fire, so they also called Winthrop, Chesterville and Belgrade to Fayette, Maxwell said.

“Everybody on the fire … who can respond to another fire, will,” Maxwell said. “Most towns in this area are very low on manpower. Everybody is shorthanded on the staff,” he added, “especially during the day, while people have day jobs.”

Firefighters retrieve hose after extinguishing a blaze inside a residence Tuesday in Fayette. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

About 72.5% of firefighters in Maine are volunteers, while only 3% are career firefighters, according to a U.S. Fire Administration study. The other 24.5% are people who are mixed between volunteer and career.

“Most of the time the people that have full-time jobs are at their jobs and don’t come,” Maxwell said.

Kyle Couter, a volunteer firefighter who was at both fires, said he told his boss he wasn’t going to work that day, and if he did, he would be late.

Two Wayne firefighters who were supposed to be on their honeymoon responded to the fire in Fayette.

Wayne’s Deputy Fire Chief Taylor Stevenson and Megan Stevenson had to miss four or five calls because of their wedding Saturday. They were supposed to be on their honeymoon on the coast but decided to answer the fire call instead.

A group of firefighters had to go upstairs to get a cat out of the house in Fayette, which had a metal roof that made it much hotter inside.

The metal roof made the fire a little harder to fight, but it didn’t get far into the ceiling, Maxwell said.

Fayette Town Manager Mark Robinson said he lives in the same neighborhood and heard about the Manchester fire, so he decided to go see if he could help in any way.

“These (firefighters) responded incredibly fast,” he said.

Pete Ames, a retired firefighter, said he heard the call and knew the firefighters were in Manchester, so he also went to the house to see if he could help get anybody out.

He said there was a woman who let a dog out of the house by opening the front door, which he later closed to make sure more air couldn’t get inside.

There were no injuries in either fire, as nobody was in either house at the time.

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