SIDNEY — A man was arrested on an assault charge Monday night after refusing to leave his burning house on Dinsmore Road and attacking a firefighter, say police and fire officials.

Firefighters responded to a report of the fire around 7:30 p.m. Monday and found the ranch house in flames, said Sidney Fire Chief Richard Jandreau. A man, a woman and a young girl were at home when the fire started, he said.

The names of the woman and the girl were not available, but Chief Deputy Ryan Reardon of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office said Dana L.J. Nadeau, 51, was arrested at the scene on an assault charge.

Nadeau refused to come out of the house when firefighters arrived, and he hit a firefighter, Jandreau said. The woman and the girl had crawled out of the house through a bedroom window and were outside, but the man was still inside, refusing to come out, he said.

“He was trying to protect his house, he said, and he struck one of our firefighters,” Jandreau said.

The firefighter, whose name Jandreau did not want to release because he was taken to the hospital, eventually got the man out of the house but suffered from smoke inhalation.

“He was absolutely going above and beyond his duty trying to get everyone out,” Jandreau said.

“The only thing I can surmise is that (Nadeau) was trying to save his property and put the fire out,” he said.

The fire started while Nadeau was working on a snowmobile in the garage attached to the house. He was siphoning gasoline out of the snowmobile, and the fumes ignited because of a running space heater nearby, Nadeau said.

Nadeau suffered third-degree burns and was taken to the hospital but later released. A second firefighter was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The house was damaged heavily, but the residents and three dogs all survived. They were renting the property from the homeowner, Leo Barnett.

“They’re not going to be able to live there,” Jandreau said. “We contacted the Red Cross, and they put them up for the night, gave them vouchers for food and clothing.”

Firefighters from Augusta, Belgrade, Oakland, Rome, Sidney and Smithfield responded. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was also at the scene to deal with a reported fuel spill from a kerosene tank that was in the garage.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm;