November 10, 2012

Dawn Gagnon/Bangor Daily News via The Associated Press

Authorities converge at a home where a fire killed four people on Dow Road in Orrington on Saturday.

Four die in Orrington house fire

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

A fire at a rural home in Orrington killed a father and his three children, while the children's mother was rescued from the roof and hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation, police said.

The victims of Saturday morning's fire were Ben Johnson, 30, and his three children, Ben, 9, Leslie, 8, and Ryan, 4, said Steve McCausland, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman.

Ben was in fourth grade at Center Drive School and Leslie was in third grade. McCausland said investigators have no reason to believe the victims were anyone other than the family, but they are awaiting positive identification from the state Medical Examiner's Office in Augusta.

The children's mother, Christine Johnson, 31, escaped the early morning fire and was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Her condition wasn't known Saturday night.

McCausland said the fire was reported by neighbors at 2:38 a.m., when they heard a woman screaming.

Christine Johnson was rescued off the roof of the house by neighbors and firefighters.

More than a dozen investigators and State Police detectives were at the scene of the Dow Road home Saturday trying to determine the cause of the blaze.

McCausland said the couple and their children moved into the rented house about six months ago from Bangor. Ben Johnson worked at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, and Christine Johnson is a writer who worked out of the house.

The house "was heavily involved upon our arrival," Orrington Assistant Fire Chief Scott Stewart said. He said the Cape Cod-style wood home was severely damaged.

Orrington, a town of about 3,900 residents, serves as a bedroom community to Bangor, six miles to the north.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)

  • Back to News

Life & Culture

© 2014 The Portland Press Herald - All Rights Reserved.
MaineToday Media
One City Center, 5th floor, Portland, ME 04101-5009
(207) 791-6650