CARMEL, Maine — Shortly after returning to her mobile home on Ash Hill Road, which was destroyed by fire Thursday, Pauline McTague broke into tears.
“Everything is gone,” she said, standing with friends and relatives just down the street from where firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. “We just went to the Brewer Wal-Mart and we weren’t gone half an hour to an hour.”
McTague said that while she was shopping with her husband, Winston McTague, a police dispatcher called to inform him a fire was reported at their home.
“We just put new siding on, insulated, put on a new roof, and a new floor in the kitchen,” she said, breaking into tears at points. “It was a ’76 trailer but it looked like a brand-new house. Everything was rebuilt.”
The home was paid for and the couple does have insurance, she said.
“This is all we have left,” Winston McTague said, pointing at the clothing he was wearing. “That and my truck.”
The fire gutted the mobile home despite efforts by firefighters from several departments to save it, Hermon fire Capt. Chandler Corriveau said while the rubble of the structure smoldered behind him.
“It was well involved,” the fire captain said. “We were well behind the eight ball.”
The fire was reported about 11:10 a.m., and Route 69 near the junction with Ash Hill was temporarily closed to traffic to allow firetrucks to rotate in and out on the dead-end road.
“We had some water supply issues that made it difficult,” Corriveau said.
Those problems were resolved with “great mutual aid,” he said.
Firefighters from Carmel, Hermon, Etna, Levant, Winterport, Hampden, Newburgh, Glenburn and Stetson assisted at the scene. No injuries were reported.
“We can’t really determine the cause,” Corriveau said, adding that investigators with the state fire marshal’s office have been called to look for what sparked the blaze.
Winston McTague, who was worried about his heart medicine which burned up in the fire, said he thinks the blaze started in the home’s heating system. The Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross is helping the family, Corriveau said.
“We lost everything but it would have been worse if it had started at night,” Winston McTague said. “Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten out.”
His wife added that the couple have a lot of family in the area and their daughter was on her way.