Firefighters battle Friday’s fire in Brunswick while enduring single-digit temperatures. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Fire, freezing weather and structural instability conspired Friday to destroy a 168-year-old home on Maquoit Road in Brunswick and send two people to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Firefighters were at 5 Maquoit Road from about noon to 6 p.m., battling the two-alarm blaze with a variety of equipment that failed to work properly in temperatures that only reached about 12 degrees Friday afternoon.

Water turns to ice when it hits the frigid air Friday as firefighters battle a two-alarm house fire in Brunswick. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

The fire started in the 1850 Cape-style home when two occupants were trying to thaw frozen pipes with heating equipment, said Capt. David Hunter. Both occupants fled the house; one was transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The property, located at the intersection of Maquoit Road, Maine Street and Mere Point Road, is owned by Morley James and Barbara Thomas, according to town records.

In addition to dealing with problems related to freezing water, firefighters found their radios, cellphones and breathing packs failed to function in the icy weather, said Deputy Chief Jeff Emerson. A Freeport firetruck had to be towed from the scene.

“The building is a total loss,” Emerson said. “It was a difficult fire to fight given the structural instability of the house and the weather. Anything electrical didn’t operate according to plan.”

Firefighters also battled exhaustion from working under extreme temperatures and in a small house with hard-to-reach areas, Emerson said. Two firefighters partially fell through the first floor into the basement, requiring one firefighter to be treated for minor injuries at the scene and the other to be transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries as well.

Firefighters battle a two-alarm house fire on the corner of Maine Street and Mere Point and Maquoit roads in Brunswick while enduring freezing temperatures on Friday. Fire officials said afterward that the building was a total loss. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

The occupants of the house are staying with family members, Emerson said.

Firefighters from Topsham, Bath, West Bath, Durham and Freeport assisted at the scene.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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