BRUNSWICK, Maine — Flames consumed a two-family home on Hale Street in Brunswick on Tuesday afternoon, despite the best efforts of firefighters from four communities.
Crews were called at 11:47 a.m. to the three-building complex on Hale Street, off an access road to Fairpoint and two Bath Iron Works’ facilities.
“When they got here, the whole side of the building was involved,” Brunswick Fire Chief Ken Brillant said at the scene.
Lt. Justin Hagar said he arrived in the tower truck with two firefighters from nearby Emerson Station. As he walked around the building to “size-up” the fire, he heard firefighter Alan Boucher yelling at him, Hagar said.
“I saw [firefighter] Luke [Vashon] looking over, and there was a guy banging on the [inside] door,” Hagar said. Nelson “Chip” Darling, who uses a wheelchair, lived in the home with his son, Michael Darling. Darling’s wheelchair was stuck on debris and the door threshold, Hagar said.
“We picked him up, pulled him out and he was hysterical,” Hagar said. “So I grabbed both sides of his face and put his eyes right to mine, and said, ‘You need to calm down, I need to know if there’s anyone else in the building.’”
Hagar said Darling wasn’t sure, so after he and Boucher made sure he was safe, Hagar did a “primary search” of the building’s first floor, but found no one.
Brillant said that after learning the upstairs tenants had left, when the flames grew, he pulled the crew out and firefighters battled the blaze from the exterior.
At about 12:45 p.m., the fire was under control, but not before the building was destroyed, Deputy Chief Donald Koslosky said.
No injuries were reported, although Michael Darling said he lost thousands of dollars worth of quahogs that were in his GMC Yukon parked next to the building.
Darling said he received a call about the fire from his father while he was on his boat in the New Meadows River fishing for quahogs.
At about 1:30 p.m., Brillant said no cause had been determined. The American Red Cross was responding to aid those displaced from the fire.