A father and son were killed and a woman was injured in a fire that reduced their home in the Knox County town of Washington to rubble early Monday.

Steven Rhodes, 53, and his son Isaac Rhodes, 25, died in the fire.

Elizabeth Rhodes, Steven’s wife and Isaac’s mother, was treated at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport for smoke inhalation and burns. She was then sent to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was in the special care burn unit Monday night.

Firefighters walk through remnants of the house that was destroyed Monday in an early morning fire that left two dead in the town of Washington.

Firefighters walk through remnants of the house that was destroyed Monday in an early morning fire that left two dead in the town of Washington.

The blaze destroyed the family’s single-story house on Cattle Pond Road, and firefighters and investigators spent much of the day there Monday.

Steven’s parents, Lincoln and Moody Rhodes, live next door to the family and were among a number of relatives at the scene. They remembered Steven as strong, kind and caring. They said Isaac, who had Down syndrome, was a joyous person who loved singing and playing with animals.

1142168_1003306255 WEB Washington c.jpg

“It’s almost unreal that something this bad could happen so fast,” Lincoln Rhodes said as he watched the firefighters work.

The relatives said they thought that Elizabeth, 56, would recover from her injuries.

Neighbors discovered the fire about 5:45 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy flames and smoke coming out of the home, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Knox County sheriff’s deputies and firefighters pulled the younger man from the house, but resuscitation efforts failed. Steven Rhodes’ body was later recovered in the rubble of the home.

“It’s been a very difficult morning for the family and the firefighters,” Sgt. Ken Grimes of the fire marshal’s office told reporters.

Kim Peabody, sister of Steven Rhodes, who died in a fire on Monday, is comforted by a friend at the fire scene on Cattle Pond Road in Washington. Peabody's nephew, Isaac Rhodes, also died in the fire.

Kim Peabody, sister of Steven Rhodes, who died in a fire on Monday, is comforted by a friend at the fire scene on Cattle Pond Road in Washington. Peabody’s nephew, Isaac Rhodes, also died in the fire.

The fire started in the basement of the home, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, but investigators were not able to determine its exact cause by Monday afternoon because the building was so thoroughly damaged. They did not think it was suspicious, McCausland said.

Based on a phone conversation he had with Elizabeth on Monday morning, Lincoln Rhodes said he thought Steven had escaped the home during the fire, then returned inside to try to rescue Isaac.

Steven was born in England while his father was serving in the Air Force, according to Lincoln. He grew up in Washington and attended Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro. He was employed by Storer Lumber in Waldoboro and used to work at Bath Iron Works. He was also active at South Liberty Baptist Church, speaking at services and coaching basketball there, Lincoln Rhodes said.

Firefighters from Washington and Liberty survey the damage Monday at the fatal fire on Cattle Pond Road in Washington.

Firefighters from Washington and Liberty survey the damage Monday at the fatal fire on Cattle Pond Road in Washington.

Besides having a son with Elizabeth, they also had two older daughters, Rebekah Lord of Camden and Rachel Batlis of Washington.

“I’m just sad, overwhelmed,” Lord said Monday. “I can’t believe this happened.”

She described her father as “a very loving, caring man … who always put family ahead of himself.” She said her brother was “always happy, always laughing and always singing” and “a great uncle” to her children.

Isaac also graduated from Medomak Valley High School and participated in day programs offered by Mobius Inc., a nonprofit organization in Damariscotta that helps people with disabilities.

Lord also said her mother was “doing all right” late Monday, considering her injuries and the tragic deaths of her husband and son.

The fire was reported about 6 a.m. at 12 Cattle Pond Road.

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ceichacker


Comments are not available on this story.