No one was injured in a fire that destroyed a camp-style home and two cars at 14 Orchard Road Monday afternoon. The heat from the blaze also caused major damage to the house next door.

Windham Fire Chief Charlie Hammond said the resident of the house, whose name was not released, was upstairs when a smoke detector went off. Hammond said the man discovered a fire in the wall next to the kitchen and phoned the fire department at about 1:45 p.m.

“They were right on the ball,” said neighbor Howard Murphy in regards to the fire department’s speedy response. Murphy said he was in his home when he saw a column of smoke through the window and then he said he soon heard a loud explosion-like sound.

Hammond said the explosion was the sound of a propane heating tank valve melting. A gush of high-pressure gas forced its way out of a small opening in the tank, creating a sound like an explosion.

“It sounded like a freight train going through,” said Hammond.

With the valve melted, Hammond said firefighters were unable to turn off the flow of into the fire so they were forced to crimp the line.

The two cars parked in the driveway caught fire, one of which was completely engulfed in flames. Hammond said the intense heat from the house fire totaled both cars.

The heat caused major damage to both the inside and outside of the small house next door, which, according to Hammond, was only 15 feet away. Neighbors said the owner of the second house had just left for work.

A telephone pole in front of the house was blackened from the fire although a CMP employee was seen climbing the pole while crews sprayed down the two houses and two cars. The power to the street was turned off, because firefighters were concerned about the water and foam being sprayed too near to the power lines.

For more on this story, see the Feb. 23 issue of the Lakes Region Suburban Weekly.

Flames from a house fire on Orchard Road in Windham spread to engulf cars parked in the yard as well.A firefighter walks by the burning remains of a car at the scene of a house fire on Orchard Street in Windham Monday afternoon.Firefighters spray water on the charred remains of a house on Orchard Road in Windham Monday afternoon. No one was injured in the fire.A firefighter pulls damaged insulation from the side of a home on Orchard Road in Windham. The house was damaged from the heat from the flames of the fire that destroyed the house next door.The house on the right was damaged by the heat from the flames that destroyed the house on the left in Windham Monday afternoon.Firefighters continue to spray water on the remains of a house at 14 Orchard Street that was destroyed in a fire Monday afternoon. No one was injured in the blaze.Firefighters examine the wreckage of the Orchard Road home that was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon.A fire in Windham Monday afternoon destroyed this house on Orchard Road as well as two cars.

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