Firefighters survey the area Thursday in West Gardiner as they prepare to move hoses to a cabin several hundred yards into the woods west of state Route 126. Firefighters discovered the body of an adult while they were battling the blaze. Officials say they believe the fire’s cause was accidental. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

WEST GARDINER — Investigators said they believe the cause of a fatal fire Thursday that destroyed a home in West Gardiner was accidental.

Shannon Moss, public information officer for the Maine Department of Public Safety, wrote Monday in an email that the cause of the fire was technically undetermined, noting nothing so far was considered suspicious.

The Department of Public Safety said the body of the person found inside the building is believed to be that of Sherwood Keene, 83, who had been renting the home.

Moss said Monday investigators were awaiting the results of DNA testing to confirm the victim’s identity.

On Thursday, firefighters from more than a half-dozen southern Kennebec County communities spent an hour fighting the blaze that destroyed a single-family home several hundred yards off Lewiston Road, which is also known as Routes 9 and 126. As they battled flames, firefighters discovered an adult body inside the home.

A firefighter shields his head Thursday while surveying a burning home in West Gardiner. State Trooper Erin James and neighbor Brian Knowles discovered the cabin was consumed by fire when they arrived at the residence, located several hundred yards into the woods west of Route 126. Firefighters found a body at the scene, believed to be that of the home’s occupant. Officials say they are awaiting the results of DNA testing to confirm the identity of the victim. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

The fire was first reported by neighbor Bryan Knowles, who had been in the woods behind the home and heard what he thought might have been a hot air balloon heater before he came across the smoke and the burning building, and by Erin James, a Maine state trooper who reported the fire based on a column of smoke as she looked for the source of the flames.

Firefighters were called back to the Lewiston Road property shortly after 7 a.m. Friday after receiving reports of hot spots.

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