A 14-year-old boy was the victim of an early Thursday morning house fire in Camden, Lt. Troy Gardner of the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office said Friday.
Theodore Hedstrom became the second Maine child this week to die in a house fire after 7-year-old Adele Parent died in a fire in her home on Taylor Street in Lincoln on Monday night.
Before this week, the last time a child died in a fire in Maine was in 2015, when a 9-year-old boy was killed in Hermon. Multiple fatal fires occurring in one week in Maine is uncommon, but not unheard of. Two fatal fires occurred within two days in the Aroostook County town of Fort Fairfield in January 2020.
Along with the 14-year-old boy who was killed in the fire at 7 Mount Battie St., two adults suffered burn injuries and are both currently hospitalized, Gardner said.
Authorities currently believe both fires were accidental, Gardner said.
In Lincoln, there had been some electrical work done on the home’s second story within three days of the fire that could “be a determining factor,” he said.
“That’s really the only thing that would be in this area, or in that space, that could create a fire,” Gardner said.
In Camden, investigators are looking into whether some work done on the electrical panel in the last week for the installation of a new dryer may have contributed to the fire.
The work in Lincoln did not appear to have been done by a professional or to have been in line with local code, he said. There were no safety precautions taken to protect the wiring, which could have allowed it to make contact with nails or screws.
In addition, Gardner said, the presence of kerosene in a plastic container — as well as a kerosene heater — in the house’s attic likely helped spread the flames. The kerosene combined with flames in the attic to spread downward into Adele Parent’s room through her closet, filling the room with thick black smoke.
After several unsuccessful attempts, firefighters were able to gain access to the girl’s room, but not soon enough. An autopsy by Maine’s Medical Examiner’s Office determined that Parent died as a result of smoke inhalation.
Police said they received a 911 call reporting the Lincoln fire at approximately 9:48 p.m. Three adults and three children — including Adele Parent — were in the house at the time of the fire. At some point, an adult in the home woke up, noticed the fire and began alerting others — including Adele Parent — about the flames.
The five survivors were taken to the hospital, but did not have serious injuries.
In Camden, where an investigation is at an earlier stage than in Lincoln, firefighters were called to the home at about 1:10 a.m. on Thursday. The house was a total loss. Only a “shell” remained by the time firefighters arrived, Gardner said.
The fire seemed to start in the front corner of the residence, where Theodore Hedstrom was sleeping at the time, and also where the house’s service panel is located.
One of the adults who attempted to get to the teenager suffered serious injuries doing so, according to Gardner.