Though the walls and roof were left standing, a house off Tenney Hill Road in Casco has been ruled a total loss after fire ripped through Monday morning.

Although it has yet to be confirmed by the state Fire Marshal’s Office, Casco Fire Chief John Small said they believe a smoldering cigarette caused the smoky blaze, which started around 9:30 a.m. and destroyed the entire contents of Mike and Virginia Lorraine’s Timbuktu Road home.

“I went in today (Tuesday) with the insurance adjuster,” Virginia said. “My Christmas presents for my grandson were burnt up. I had a brand new computer – it’s burnt.”

The only personal item Virginia managed to save was her daughter’s baby book and photo album. Somehow they survived the flames, sheltered under a stack of other items.

Although they had signed the property over to their daughter some time ago, the Lorraines had built the home themselves and had lived there for 24 years. But now, this family’s home must be torn down.

The fire is one more misfortune in what has been a difficult year for the couple. In August, just two days before his birthday, Mike underwent quadruple bypass surgery following a massive heart attack. Since his surgery, Mike has been on oxygen to help his breathing.

Several tanks of the oxygen were in the home at the time of the fire, hampering firefighters’ efforts to control the blaze. Though none actually exploded, according to Small, their potential to do so required firefighters to use extreme caution.

Crews from Casco, Naples and Raymond responded to the call, Small said, for a total of 25 to 35 firefighters on hand.

“The crews worked very hard and did an outstanding job,” Small said. “We rely very heavily on mutual aid, especially on calls during the day.”

With the immediate area’s lack of a convenient water supply, firefighters faced the challenge of getting sufficient water to the fire. Using a folding tank to contain water pumped from the trucks, they drew the necessary water from a stream located a half-mile away.

After the fire, with their home uninhabitable, the Lorraines turned to the American Red Cross, which housed the couple in a Lewiston motel room for Monday and Tuesday nights.

Plans are to stay at the White Pines Motel in Raymond for the next month. And, by the time their stay is over, the Lorraines hope to be in a trailer located on the lot where their house once stood.


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