A fire spread over about an acre around Little Sebago Lake Wednesday night, damaging or destroying four buildings, several cars and a boat. Courtesy Scott Doyle, Raymond Fire & Rescue

Three homes and a boathouse on Little Sebago Lake burned Wednesday night in a massive fire that officials say was fueled by debris from winter storms.

“I was in awe of how high the flames went into the trees. I’ve never seen that before in all my years of doing this,” said Scott Doyle, the public information officer for Raymond Fire & Rescue. He has been a firefighter since 1996.

A porch fire at 15 Evergreen Road in Gray was reported at 6:51 p.m. according to Raymond Fire & Rescue, which was the closest department to the scene.

When Fire Chief Bruce Tupper arrived, the fire had fully engulfed the house and was spreading to nearby buildings and vehicles, Doyle said.

“At the same time fire crews were extinguishing the first fire, propane tanks began to ignite and vent off gas. Flames went upward of 30 feet in the air,” burning the bark off trees 30 to 40 feet up, Doyle said.

As the fire began to build, power lines dropped to the ground, preventing firefighters from working on some of the buildings until power to the area was shut off, Doyle said. Because the area is nearly 2 miles off Route 85 down narrow camp roads, a water supply was set up at a nearby boat launch.


Doyle said the fire spread over about an acre, and two seasonal camps were declared total losses with the damage estimated at $500,000. The exterior of a boathouse and a year-round home across the one-lane camp road had exterior damage from the intense flames and heat, he said. Three cars and a boat were also destroyed.

Marcia MacVane, who lives two houses down from one of the camps that was destroyed, was at home Wednesday evening when she heard an odd noise outside. She went out to the porch to see what has happening.

“I was faced with a sheet of flames,” she said. “It went up in a matter of minutes.”


Uncertain of how the fire would spread, she rushed to get her husband out of the house. They heard propane tanks in the camps exploding and watched as firefighters rushed to contain the flames. The heat was intense and the trees looked like torches in the sky, MacVane said.

“Those tall pine trees look like sticks of charcoal now. It’s so sad,” she said.


The camps that were destroyed were among the original buildings in the small neighborhood and have been owned by the same families for years, MacVane said. The second camp to catch fire is owned by a large family and there is always a lot of activity there, she said.

“That was one of the places in the area where everybody went,” she said.

Approximately 40 firefighters from 11 departments worked at the scene to put out the fire and stop it from spreading, Doyle said. Maine Forest Rangers also responded because the fire spread through the woods. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Office of State Fire Marshal.

Two firefighters were transported to hospitals – one due to heat and exertion, the other for injuries from working at the scene, Doyle said. Other firefighters were treated at the scene for heat-related issues.

One person was at the camp where the fire started, but no other injuries were reported. A dog was found in one of the houses and let out by neighbors. The dog’s owners later reported it was fine, Doyle said.



MacVane is glad no one from the camps was injured or killed and feels lucky that the only damage to her house is some vinyl siding that was warped by the heat. She said a water line that was dug to connect a new well to her neighbor’s house was covered with sand two days ago, creating a fire break that the fire chief told her likely stopped flames from spreading to more houses.

Crews had the fire under control within a couple of hours, but remained on the scene until about 1 a.m.

Raymond fire crews were called back to the scene around 5 a.m. Thursday after a television news crew noticed the fire had rekindled. Doyle said that is common when firefighters cannot move or get through large amounts of debris. Heavy equipment will be brought in to move the debris, and it’s possible the fire could flare up during that process, he said.

Doyle said this fire is a good reminder to property owners to clean up leaves, limbs and sticks to prevent fires from spreading.

“Due to the several strong winter storms this year, there is an abundance of debris from the trees,” he said.

Doyle said if people are burning brush or have a campfire, at least two adults should be available to tend it. They also should have hand tools and a water source nearby. Fire permits are needed for any outdoor fire larger than 3 feet by 3 feet.

“Just a little wind can move fire very fast,” he said.

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