AUGUSTA — A house at 7 Buena Vista Drive in Augusta was damaged by fire late Wednesday, although the damage could have been much worse if not for a residential alarm system, according to officials.

No one was home at the time of the blaze and no firefighters were injured fighting the flames. One of the family’s cats was killed and another was missing following the fire, which was reported at 10:30 p.m.

A security and fire alarm system at the home reported the blaze to firefighters even as none of the residents was home.

Fire Chief Dave Groder of the Augusta Fire Department said the fire appeared to have begun in the basement. Flames that spread to the first floor set off a smoke detector that notified an ADT Inc. worker, who contacted the Fire Department.

Groder credited the alarm and notification system with preventing what could have been a much larger fire that could have destroyed the home. He said the house is savable and could be ready for occupancy in a few weeks.

“If they hadn’t had the notification system, this would have been a lot different story,” Groder said. “The house sits off the road a bit, so the fire would have been a lot worse before we ever found out about it. It was a good save.”


When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke and fire in the basement. Groder said firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

The house’s owner is Lisa M. Haskell, according to city records. Neither she nor her husband was home when the fire started.

With no fire hydrants in the area, firefighters used tanker trucks to bring water to the scene, although Groder said they ended up not needing water beyond what was provided by the trucks that arrived first.

Officials were back at the scene Thursday morning, along with an investigator from the Office of State Fire Marshal, to determine the cause of the blaze. Groder said the investigator was called in for more expertise in determining the fire’s cause, and an electrical inspector was also expected.

Firefighters from Belgrade, Chelsea, Hallowell, Gardiner, Sidney, Togus, Vassalboro and Winthrop also responded to the fire, as did Augusta police. Firefighters were at Haskell’s house until almost 1:30 a.m. Thursday. 

The single-story ranch home, built in 1973, and 3.3-acre property are assessed at $232,000 for tax purposes, according to city records. 

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