Lightning may have caused blaze that destroyed home

A fire that destroyed a converted Camp Ellis cottage Saturday night is under investigation by officials from the Saco Fire Department as well as the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

A rare winter thunder and lightning storm may have played a role in the blaze at 2 Pineywood Road, which was unoccupied except for four cats. Their whereabouts are still uncertain, said Lt. Steven Merrill of the Saco Fire Department.

The woman who lived in the house was spending the night at her daughter’s home nearby, Merrill said. A passer-by called in the fire shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday.

“There were weather issues in the area around that time,” said Merrill.

Merrill said the home is a total loss. After firefighters made their way across icy roads to the site, they were further hampered by waist-deep snow around the house and fire hydrants that had not been shoveled out.

The National Weather Service said a large line of thunderstorms with thunder and lightning crossed Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine Saturday night. According to the weather service, winter thunderstorms are rare because the air is more stable than in the spring and summer, and strong updrafts can’t form because the surface temperatures are colder.


Alfred woman injuredwhen truck slides off road

A 54-year-old woman from Alfred was injured Sunday afternoon when a pickup truck in which she was riding slid off Milton Mills Road. She was transported by a medical helicopter to Maine Medical Center.

Rescuers from Lebanon and Acton initially had trouble finding the vehicle, because it was first reported near 250 Milton Mills Road in Acton. A dispatcher in Sanford traced the initial cell phone call to Lebanon, which also has a 250 Milton Mills Road.

“It’s hard when neighboring towns have the same names for roads,” said Jason Cole, assistant chief of the Lebanon Rescue Department. “Fortunately, the dispatch can now ‘ping’ the phone in case of an emergency and trace it pretty close to where the phone is.”

State police are investigating the accident.


Teen injured while skiingoff Sunday River trails

A 14-year-old boy suffered an injury while skiing out of bounds at Sunday River Sunday afternoon.

“My understanding is that he ducked a rope on Spruce Peak,” said Darcy Morse, communications director at the ski area.

A friend who had been skiing with the boy notified the ski patrol, which located the injured skier and brought him down the mountain and in to Bethel.

A LifeFlight helicopter flew the boy to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston with an injury to the hip or pelvis area, Morse said.


Two-story garage’s roof caves in after new snow

A two-story garage collapsed Sunday morning, most likely from the snow load on the roof.

Local fire departments responded to the collapse at 31 Ramsdell Road. There was no immediate report of injuries.

Heavy snow this year has caused other buildings to collapse and the weight on the roof was likely increased from additional snow and rain overnight.


Four charged after police seize cocaine, cash at home

Maine drug agents say they’ve seized more than 1½ pounds of cocaine and arrested four people following a months-long drug investigation.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said 29-year-old Michael Vilasuso of Dedham, 49-year-old Maureen Leeman of Mount Desert, 29-year-old Thaddeus Jozefowicz of Bangor and 45-year-old Stephanie Martin of Clifton are charged with trafficking in cocaine.

Agents say most of the drugs and more than $10,000 in cash were found Saturday at Vilasuso’s home in Dedham, where he was arrested. The other three were arrested after being stopped in their vehicles.

Police say the cocaine was believed to have come to Maine from Massachusetts.


Bill seeks to provide funds for boosting seafood sales

Maine’s seafood industry would get a lift under proposed legislation that would provide funding to support seafood marketing, research and development.

A public hearing is scheduled Thursday on the bill, which is titled “An Act to Support Large-scale Marketing and Research and Development for Bulk Sales of Maine Seafood Worldwide.”

Rep. Walter Kumiega of Deer Isle, who is sponsoring the bill, says the state has invested a lot of money in various industries in recent years, but seafood has gotten short shrift.

The bill would make a one-time appropriation of $3 million for the industry for fiscal year 2011-12.