A house at Hancock Point formerly owned by Eliot Cutler's parents was destroyed by a fire on May 19, 2023. The house, which is believed to be owned by Cutler's brother, was being rented by the week and is one of several vacation homes clustered at the tip of the peninsula, which has sweeping views of Frenchman Bay and Mount Desert Island. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

A fire at Hancock Point that destroyed a house formerly owned by Eliot Cutler’s parents is under investigation but is not thought to be suspicious, according to a local fire official.

The small cottage at 18 West Shore Road in Hancock is owned by Hancock Point LLC, which according to town records shares an address with Eliot Cutler’s brother, Cape Elizabeth resident Joel Cutler.

The fire came two weeks after the former gubernatorial candidate was sentenced May 4 to serve 9 months in jail for possession of child pornography.

The 1,100-square-foot shorefront house, which is listed on weekly vacation rental websites, was being rented when the fire broke out on Friday, Hancock Fire Chief Chris Holmes said. The fire was reported by a passerby at around 2:40 p.m. but the renters had left the property at around 9:30 that morning to go sightseeing.

The house, originally built in 1875 and renovated in 1991, was destroyed, Holmes said. Approximately 40 firefighters from Hancock and seven other nearby towns responded, but much of it already was engulfed in flames by the time the first firefighters arrived.

“It was very windy,” Holmes said. “Half the house was fully involved by the time our first units got there.”

It took firefighters more than three hours to extinguish the flames. No one was hurt, Holmes said, and a garage and nearby homes were spared any damage.

The state fire marshal’s office and the owner’s insurance company still are looking into what may have caused the fire, the chief said. There was no wood stove in the house.

“There’s nothing suspicious at this time,” Holmes said. “They’re still investigating if it was an accident or an act of God.”

Eliot Cutler’s parents, former Bangor residents Lawrence and Kay Cutler, bought the house in 1966, a couple of months before Eliot Cutler turned 20 years old. Lawrence Cutler died in 1984 and Kay Cutler died in 2003.

A few months after Kay Cutler died, their three sons — Eliot and his younger brothers Joel and Josh — transferred ownership of the 0.9-acre property to Hancock Point LLC. Joel Cutler is listed in town records as the point of contact for the legal entity.

When Kay Cutler died 20 years ago, the property had a total assessed value of $378,000. Last year, the combined assessed value of the land and the cottage was $1.35 million.

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....