MANCHESTER — A 56-year-old Navy veteran died in a fire that destroyed his home Saturday morning on Granite Hill Road.
Firefighters found Sam Spinicci’s body in a bedroom on the second floor of the house. The State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that a fan in the bedroom caught fire and ignited some nearby curtains, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The house was also the headquarters of Kennebec Taxi, which is temporarily out of business as a result of the fire. The taxi company, which Spinicci started in January, has 10 to 12 vehicles and as many drivers, some of whom are Spinicci’s relatives.
The fire was reported at 6:16 a.m. Manchester Fire Chief Clarence Cram said by the time his firefighters arrived, the home’s second floor was engulfed in flames. The fire had blown out the windows and was starting to eat away the roof.
Although firefighters from eight departments suppressed the flames quickly, Cram said, they didn’t reach Spinicci in time.
“There’s nothing, probably, that we could have done up there at that point,” he said.
Calamity Brassard said Spinicci was her stepfather, but he was her true father figure in the nearly 20 years that he and her mother, Sylvia Spinicci, were in a relationship. Spinicci was the one that his three stepdaughters and their children called whenever they needed help.
“He was a very stand-up man,” she said. “He was very hardworking, and he did anything for anybody.”
Spinicci, who was disabled, started Kennebec Taxi to provide work for his wife and one of his stepdaughters, according to family members.
Brassard said he also welcomed the opportunity to provide jobs and transportation to people who needed it. Brassard said they would try to get the taxi service up and running again as soon as possible, but it could take a few days or longer.
“It’s letting people down,” she said. “That’s what he would be worried about, too.”
While Kennebec Taxi has the necessary insurance, Brassard said the house was uninsured, and her mother has lost everything.
Sylvia Spinicci awoke at 4:30 a.m. Saturday and went downstairs to talk to one of her daughters, who has been living in a camper in the driveway with her husband and two children. Brassard said they heard an air-conditioning unit land in the backyard after being blown out of a second-floor window, and they ran outside and saw the house burning.
Brassard said her sister was burned when she went into the house to try to rescue Sam Spinicci. She couldn’t reach him but was able to get the dogs out of the house safely.
Spinicci grew up in Pennsylvania. He had a large family, including his wife’s daughters and three children of his own. In the Augusta area, he had 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
The fire departments that responded Saturday, in addition to Manchester’s, were from Fayette, Hallowell, Mount Vernon, Readfield, Vienna, Wayne and Winthrop.
Susan McMillan can be contacted at 621-5645 or at: