January 25, 2013

Blaze damages house, kills one in Somerville

From staff reports

SOMERVILLE — Searchers found a body Thursday night in the rubble of a home and barn that were heavily damaged by a fire that burned for more than four hours.

click image to enlarge

A firefighter walks by the blaze on the Crummett Mountain Road in Somerville Thursday night. Investigators found a body in the rubble and believe it is the homeowner, 92-year-old Cecil Brann.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

Firefighters confer next to the burning barn of a farmhouse that burned Thursday on the Crummett Mountain Road in Somerville. Firefighters were hampered in their efforts by severe cold temperatures.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

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Investigators believe the body is that of the homeowner, 92-year-old Cecil Brann, who lived alone in the home on Crummett Mountain Road, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. The state Medical Examiner’s Office will examine the body on Friday to try to determine the victim’s identity, he said.

The fire was reported at 3:30 p.m. by a neighbor who saw smoke and drove to the farmhouse, which was ablaze.

Firefighters converged on the scene, and rescue vehicles stood by. At least two investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s Office were on the scene as well.

Sparks and embers picked up by the wind rose over the treetops as Arlita Webber of Augusta, a niece of Brann, and her brother stood outside on the dirt road in the bitter cold, watching the fire and fearing the worst.

Frigid temperatures hampered firefighters as they fought the blaze with hoses and water that kept freezing up.

Searcher’s found the victim’s body in the kitchen around 9 p.m., McCausland said.

It was the state’s first fire death of the year.

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