ROBBINSTON, Maine — A fire Monday evening at a farmhouse claimed the lives of an elderly woman and her son, according to officials.

Virginia Carlow, 92, and her son Robert Carlow, 71, died in the fire at 141 Ridge Road, according to a prepared statement released Tuesday afternoon by Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Stephen McCausland.

The fire was reported at 6 p.m. Monday, he said.

According to Robert Merrill, Robbinston’s fire chief, the Carlows owned the home.

Merrill said emergency response officials learned of the fire from an automated alert system that prompted a phone call to the Washington County Regional Communications Center in Machias. He said when firefighters first arrived at the scene three minutes later, they found heavy heat and smoke coming from the home.

Merrill declined further comment, referring other questions about the blaze to Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

York said Tuesday afternoon that the home, located maybe 50 feet off Ridge Road, was not destroyed in the blaze. He said he is not aware of anyone having witnessed the fire before firefighters arrived on scene.

York said investigators have a good idea of how the fire started but are waiting to hear from the state medical examiner’s office about the cause of death for the Carlows before they make an official determination.

York said fire marshal investigators likely will not have an official decision on the cause of the fire until Wednesday morning.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....