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January 8, 2013

Fire damages Litchfield home Tuesday; no injuries reported

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

LITCHFIELD -- Anthony Cartonio could only stand and watch Tuesday morning as water sprayed out a ground-level window of his Pleasant Pond home.

click image to enlarge

After knocking down the fire earlier, firefighters continuing work Tuesday morning at 769 Plains Rd. in Litchfield.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Firefighters were cooling a hot spot in the basement following a morning fire and carrying in fans to vent the house at 769 Plains Road near Pleasant Pond.

Cartonio, who was at work in Falmouth when the fire broke out, said a neighbor reported the blaze about 8:30 a.m. after seeing smoke coming out the vents of the single-story home with a daylight basement. No injuries were reported.

Cartonio and his family live in Gardiner, just across Pleasant Pond, and while they lived year-round in the pond-side home after they bought in in 2010, they now use it as a year-round getaway.

The fire was originally reported as a chimney fire, but Litchfield Fire Chief Stan Labbe said it wasn't, because the chimney is on the other side of the building. Cartonio said there is a forced hot air furnace in the basement as well as electrical wires.

Cartonio said the family uses the house as a base for snowmobiling in the winter, but it gets the most use in summer. "It's an escape," he said.

Cartonio stopped at the property on his way to work Tuesday morning to fill the pellet stove, which is on the same side of the building as the chimney, and not near where the fire was.

Labbe, who was at work at the Litchfield schools, said he went directly to the scene and called for mutual aid from other fire departments after seeing the smoke. He said he had to wait for fire apparatus and assistance to arrive.

"The hard part's getting the manpower in the daytime," Labbe said.

Litchfield firefighters called for assistance from other area departments just before 9 a.m. The fire scene is between the Maine Turnpike and Pleasant Pond.

Firefighters responded from Litchfield, Gardiner, Richmond, Monmouth and West Gardiner, and had the fire under control before 10 a.m.

The fire melted vinyl siding on one side of the home, and firefighters had to rip some of the siding off to get to the blaze. Otherwise, there was little fire damage visible from outside. The fire did not reach the detached barn-style garage.

Cartonio said the home was insured. Town records show it was built in 1950 and remodeled in 2000.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

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