ST. FRANCIS, Maine — A local man and his dog died Wednesday morning in a house fire likely caused by his using a flammable liquid to start the wood stove, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Firefighters found the body of 74-year-old Patrick Deignan in the basement near the wood stove, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Stephen McCausland.

The flammable liquid likely was gasoline, McCausland said in a press release issued late Wednesday afternoon.

“Fire marshals advise never to use a flammable liquid to start an indoor fire, as the fumes can explode when attempting to start the fire,” the release states.

The body of Deignan’s dog was discovered in a separate room, said Tim Lowell, senior inspector with the fire marshal’s office, who was on scene Wednesday afternoon investigating the cause of the fire.

Eight firefighters from the St. Francis and Allagash fire departments responded to the fire, which was reported at about 7:30 a.m. by a passer-by who spotted smoke.

The fire was confined to a small area of the house, Lowell said.

Despite temperatures in the low 20s and wind gusts, weather was not a factor in fighting the fire, he added.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.