A house on County Road in Waterville sustained extensive fire damage Monday. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A fire that damaged an old farmhouse on County Road early Monday is considered suspicious, according to officials.

Fire Chief Shawn Esler said the three-story house at 224 County Road was said to be uninhabited, but people were apparently living at the home, and Dan Bradstreet, the city’s code enforcement director, has dealt with violations there.

Just after 7 a.m. Monday, a caller reported smoke coming from the house, which is surrounded by farmland and is mostly obscured by large trees. The house is across the road from the entrance to Marston Road.

“Upon arrival, the Fire Department found fire and smoke visible from the second floor,” Esler said at the scene. “Fire was extended from the second floor to the third floor.”

Firefighters used a tower truck to remove branches from large trees so they could get to the fire at the large wood-frame building with a metal roof.

“There have been several code enforcement violations up here, and I know that Dan Bradstreet has been involved,” Esler said. “We believe, based on what we know about this, that the fire is suspicious. We called the (state) fire marshal’s office, and we’re going to start investigating.”


Esler said firefighters forced open a door leading to the second floor and extinguished the fire.

“We called multiple departments because it is out of our hydrant zone, in anticipation that we were going to require tanker shuttles, or water on trucks, essentially,” he said.

Firefighters from Fairfield, Oakland, Waterville and Winslow responded to the scene, and the Albion and Vassalboro fire departments stood by to cover the Waterville fire station, he said. The Skowhegan Fire Department’s Rapid Intervention Team also responded. That team works to help rescue firefighters who may be trapped or injured in fires.

“Nobody was hurt,” Esler said. “We probably had 30 firefighters, and we got really lucky this morning because the fire came in right at shift change, so we had 15 of our firefighters ready to go. There’s no question that contributed to our quick knockdown.”

He said it was not clear Monday who owns the property. When firefighters arrived at the scene, no one was at the house.

“It is not a total loss,” Esler said. “A lot of the property is salvageable. The condition of the property prior to the fire was fair.”


Outside the house, a lot of debris, such as food containers and trash, was strewn about, and many household items could be seen through open doors and windows.

Esler asked that anyone with information about the fire call Waterville police or the Office of State Fire Marshal.

State fire investigators Ken MacMaster and Jeremy Damren were at the scene Monday.

County Road was blocked to traffic as firefighters worked at the scene.

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