BOWDOINHAM

A mobile home was destroyed by an early morning fire today, but all of the tenants and their pets got out safely.

The fire was reported just before 1 a.m. and involved a single wide trailer at 637 Post Road. Firefighters from Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Topsham and Richmond responded.

Bowdoinham Fire Chief Arthur Frizzle said trailer is a rental and the tenants, some young adults from the area, had just moved in over the weekend. Fortunately, he said, they were still up watching television when they heard some crackling overhead. They went outside and saw smoke coming out of the eaves and peak. They started throwing belongings outside and were all outside the house when firefighters arrived. They had some dogs, who were safe in a vehicle by that time as well.

When he arrived, Frizzle said, he saw flames showing through the roof of the trailer. It appears there was a problem with the fireplace chimney and fire had rolled into the crawl space above the ceiling. Firefighters had to pull the ceiling down to check for fire extension and hot spots.

The chimney between the ceiling and peak of the trailer is where the fire was concentrated, the chief said, so it had a good head start and smoldered there for a considerable amount of time. The smoke and heat was initially contained to this area overhead so even though there were functioning smoke detectors, if the tenants hadn’t been up watching movies, the outcome could have been a different story, Frizzle said.

An investigator with the state fire marshal’s office will be on scene later today to give a more definitive answer on the cause and origin of the fire.

Though it was about negative 5 degrees outside, Frizzle said equipment worked fine and he requested some mutual aid because of the potential for problems the extreme cold can wreak on apparatus. Luckily, he said, they had the fire under control within about a half hour.

The American Red Cross has been contacted about helping the displaced residents, though this morning, the father of a tenant had taken the group to a residence in town.

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