Separate fires Saturday heavily damaged the home of a well-known former coach and current video producer in Gardiner, destroyed a garage, apartment and nearly all the residents’ belongings — and killed two cats — in Randolph and destroyed the kitchen at a house in Chelsea.

The home of former Gardiner Area High School teacher and coach Rob Munzing and his wife, Beth, on Pope Street in Gardiner was heavily damaged by a fire reported at 6:54 p.m. Saturday.

Chief Rick Sieberg of the Gardiner Fire Department said that while the house was not destroyed, it is not livable and will require major repairs before it can be reoccupied. Sieberg said the couple were staying at a local hotel and have family in the area.

The house, built in 1875, according to city records, was insured.

No one was hurt in the fire, and the family’s three dogs made it out of the house unharmed.

Officials said they believed the fire was accidental. It appeared to have started when a cigarette that a smoker thought had been extinguished set fire to the back deck. The fire then spread into the house.


“It looked like it started in the back deck area, then got into the back section of the house and up into the attic and second floor,” Sieberg said. “There was substantial damage. We had to vent the roof.”

Sieberg said when the call came in, two Gardiner ambulances were out on calls, which depleted the ranks of firefighters available to respond to the fire. He said two firefighters initially battled the flames, and were joined later as more firefighters became available.

Firefighters from Augusta, Farmingdale, Pittston, Randolph, Togus and West Gardiner also responded to the fire.

Sieberg said firefighters had the fire “knocked down” in about an hour, and remained at the scene for another couple of hours.

Officers from the Gardiner Police Department were first to arrive at the house and reported smoke was visible.

In Randolph, the tenants of an apartment above a two-bay garage lost nearly all their belongings and their two cats to a fire that destroyed the two-story building at 58 Kinderhook St.


While the building was destroyed, firefighters were able to prevent flames from spreading into the main house, although flames caused damage to the house’s siding.

Chief Ron Cunningham of the Randolph Fire Department said it appeared the fire began when the owner of the property was welding or cutting metal in the garage and a spark got into the structure. Cunningham said the fire took off rapidly and spread into the apartment above.

He said a tenant of the apartment was home at the time and able to get out before the flames spread. The tenant was not injured.

The property is owned by Mike St. Pierre.

Cunningham declined to identify the apartment’s tenants, only saying they are a couple.

Cunningham said it appeared nearly all the couple’s belongings and other items inside the apartment were destroyed. Vehicles inside the garage were also destroyed.


“They pretty much lost everything,” Cunningham said. “Firefighters found a couple of photographs. That’s about it.”

The chief said American Red Cross officials were contacted to help the couple find temporary housing, and the couple have family in the area.

“We could tell the garage was going to be a total loss when we got there, that was not going to be stopped,” Cunningham said Sunday. “We could see the main house, about 20 feet away, was starting to catch fire, so we put a lot of attention on the main house from the beginning.”

Firefighters from Farmingdale, Gardiner, Pittston and West Gardiner also responded to the blaze. Firefighters were at the scene from noon until about 4 p.m., Cunningham said, and an excavator was used to move burned parts of the structure to ensure the fire was extinguished.

Chelsea firefighters also answered the call to help in Randolph. As Chelsea firefighters were responding, however, they received a call reporting a house fire on Windsor Road.

Officials wrote on the Chelsea Fire Department’s Facebook page that firefighters arrived at the Windsor Road home to find smoke coming out of the windows and eaves. The occupants of the home made it out safely, and two firefighters entered the house to extinguish a “well-involved” kitchen fire.

Chelsea officials said firefighters from Augusta, Pittston, Togus, Vassalboro and West Gardiner responded to the call.

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