October 3, 2012

Space heater likely cause of fire on Middle Road in Augusta

Kennebec Journal Staff

AUGUSTA -- A fire that injured a Middle Road man and burned the mobile home where he lived was likely caused by a space heater.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

Adam Lettre, 38, was in fair condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday morning.

Lettre was first taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta on Tuesday night and later moved to Maine Medical Center, according to Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire was likely caused by something combustible being too close to an electric space heater in the rear bedroom. It's not clear what initially ignited because the room was destroyed, he said.

The mobile home, at 176 Middle Road, just off the road on a low ridge about a half-mile from Old Belgrade Road, was a total loss, Audette said.

The fire was reported at 9:12 p.m. Audette said firefighters cleared the fire by midnight.

Audette said there were no working smoke detectors and the fire got so hot that it was melting glass when Lettre was still inside.

"A smoke detector would have alerted him much more quickly, and he would have been outside," Audette said.

On Wednesday, a man at the residence who identified himself as Lettre's brother said he owns the mobile home, but wouldn't give any other information. Augusta's property database lists Aaron Lettre as the owner of the property.

Audette said Lettre's brother lives next door, and Lettre was on the back deck when his brother arrived.

"His brother heard him call for help, and he called 911," Audette said. "He basically pulled him away from the building."

The fire marshal was called to investigate, which is routine when someone is hurt, according to Audette.

Crews from Augusta, Sidney, Chelsea and Togus went to the scene, the additional departments providing water trucks, Audette said. Winthrop, Hallowell and Chelsea departments covered the city's fire stations during the call.

During the response, Hallowell got a call for an electric fire at a house on The Ledges Street around 11:30 p.m., according to Fire Department Assistant Chief Aaron Selwood.

Selwood said an electrical box in the house overheated and melted some fuses. He said it was caused by too much power on one circuit, and there was only damage to the electric box.

Hallowell Fire Department's second engine responded to the electrical fire because Hallowell had sent a full crew on an engine and squad unit to the Augusta Fire Department to cover in case of another call, Selwood said.

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