Saturday, May 18, 2013
View Suspicious fires in Gorham in a larger map
GORHAM — A fire that broke out early this morning at 294 County Road was accidental and unrelated to a series of suspicious fires over the last two weeks, according to the State Fire Marshal's Office.
Sgt. Joel Davis, who's leading the arson investigation, said the cause of this morning's blaze has been traced to a faulty heater that the owner of the house had been working on as recently as Tuesday.
The fire was reported at 1:45 a.m., in a small one-story ranch-style house that no one had been living in recently.
The house is at the corner of South Branch Drive, a cul de sac with a handful of homes, which intersects with County Road, a busy commuter route.
Firefighters and nervous residents initially feared that today's fire was the fifth in a string of suspicious fires and that the arsonist had expanded his targeted territory.
But neighbor George Mallock said the location is very exposed and anyone who pulled up to 294 County Road in a car would have been visible from the main road.
The house is valued by the town assessor at $44,000. The owner bought it about a year ago and has stayed there off and on, but hasn't been living there since the fall, Mallock said. All the previous fires have targeted vacant or at least unoccuppied structures.
Mallock said the previous four fires – all in north Gorham – already had people on edge, and now that a fire has occurred in another part of town the situation was even more unsettling.
Gorham firefighters were able to put out this morning's fire quickly and it did little damage to the structure, though there was some smoke and heat damage, said Sgt. Davis.
This home at 294 County Road in Gorham was the site of a suspicious fire this morning.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Another view of the home at 294 County Road, where a fire broke out this morning.
Photo by David Hench / Staff Writer