WINDHAM — A woman who lived alone with her dog in a small house just steps from Pettingill Pond was killed in a fire early Friday.

Officials from the state Fire Marshal’s Office identified the victim Friday as Marie McAllister, 60, but did not say how the fire started. Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said an investigation of the cause would continue into next week.

Firefighters were sent to 10 Pettingill Road, just off Route 302 near the Seacoast Adventure Park, shortly before 4 a.m. after a passing motorist saw flames and called 911.

Randy and Lori Luoma, who live next door, woke up to the sounds of popping and saw flames from their window. Randy Luoma also called 911, but by the time firefighters arrived about 10 minutes later, the house was engulfed in flames.

“Flames were coming out both sides of the roof,” he said. “It happened fast.”

McAllister, the Luomas said, had a dog, Toto, who likely perished as well.


“That dog meant everything to her,” Lori Luoma said.

The woman had rented the home for about five years, Randy Luoma said. He said she had three grown children – two sons and a daughter – and grandchildren, as well.

Her sons arrived at the scene while firefighters were still battling flames and smoke, Randy Luoma said.

“They were devastated,” he said.

Firefighters removed McAllister’s body, found in the back bedroom, once it was safe for them to enter the house. The body was taken to the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta for an autopsy.

The scene was cleared by about 10:45 a.m. Only an investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office stayed behind.


Everything but the back wall of the house was crumbled and blackened, and heat from the fire melted the siding on another neighbor’s house, which was unoccupied.

According to town records, the house where McAllister lived is owned by Donald and Camille Swander, who also own a house directly across Pettingill Road.

The rented property was valued at $97,600, which included the 500-square-foot house and 0.15-acre parcel of land, which has access to the pond.

The dead-end road, off Route 302 just past Windham’s northern commercial district, is dotted by a mix of year-round homes and summer cottages overlooking the water.


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