Joyce Butler, author of “Wildfire Loose, The Week Maine Burned” continued interviewing survivors of the fires of 1947 after the publication of the book to capture as many of their stories as possible. The recordings of these interviews are held at the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine.

John W. Kelley 

Listen to Dr. John W. Kelley who was a 16-year-old Deering High School student in 1947 when he heeded the call for volunteers and spent two weeks of his Junior year reporting for duty at the Caldwell Post of the American Legion at Woodfords to be bused to fight fires at Brownfield and other areas.

 

Credit: Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department, University of Maine, Orono NAFOH MF067 NA1230


Mabel Emery and Ruth Gobeil

Mabel Emery and her daughter Ruth Gobeil talk about the day their house exploded as the family fled before the fire. They took refuge at a family member’s cottage at Goose Rocks but they had to flee from that house, ending up in the water to save their lives. And that wasn’t the end of their adventures.

 

Credit: Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department, University of Maine, Orono NAFOH MF067 NA1231

Jane Cormier Obermeyer

Jane Cormier was a young girl in Bar Harbor when she, along with her mother and 16-year-old sister Helen, had to choose to be evacuated by a small boat in a gale from the town dock or to flee the wind-whipped flames in a truck. She describes that day and the fateful decision that led to the death of her beloved sister.

 

Credit: Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department, University of Maine, Orono NAFOH MF067 NA1422