LEE, Maine — A fire that destroyed a 1½-story log cabin on Maxwell Road on Monday was apparently well underway before anyone could report it, firefighters said.
No injuries were reported.
Lee Rescue Chief Aaron Knowles said he saw black smoke billowing from nearby woods while driving north on Skunk Hill Road toward Route 6 at about 1:40 p.m. He said he immediately called Fire Chief Lee Crocker, but when he got to 42 Maxwell Road a few minutes later, Knowles saw that firefighters probably wouldn’t be able to save it.
“The fire was through the roof, which was partially collapsed already,” Knowles said Monday.
Maxwell Road connects to Route 6 opposite Skunk Hill Road, and the cabin is only about 200 yards up the dirt road. When firefighters arrived several minutes later, “there was nothing left,” Crocker said.
“There wasn’t much more standing than you can see now,” Crocker said.
Firefighters called for a tanker truck from Lincoln Fire Department at 1:43 p.m. but canceled the call before it arrived, Crocker said.
Firefighters worried that the homeowner, Jeffrey Sproul, was somewhere in the wreckage, but they saw no sign of a body. When Sproul came home later — he had been out in the woods — he told firefighters that he believed he had left a cigarette burning, Crocker said.
Attempts to contact Sproul were not successful on Monday. He was taken to Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln for overnight observation, Crocker said.
Sproul’s two dogs managed to escape the flames. Neighbor Ernestine McAlpine said she took in one, but the second was still in the woods. Firefighters saw the second dog occasionally as they fought the fire and hung around dousing hot spots, Crocker said.
Anyone who sees a dog that looks like a wolf-mix, named Wachia, in the area of Maxwell Road is asked to call McAlpine at 738-2063.
Inspectors from the Maine state fire marshal’s office are investigating, Crocker said.