Graves family loses home

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
17 years ago

    PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – A fast-moving fire destroyed the home of Greg and Becky Graves located at 76 Centerline Road on Sunday, May 27.
According to Presque Isle Fire Chief Darrell White, the department responded to a call at approximately 3:55 p.m. reporting a structure fire on the Centerline Road. Crews arrived at the scene at about 4:08 p.m.

Two people were home when the fire broke out.
“At the time the fire started, the two teenage sons were home. They were able to get outside safely,” said White.
White said two calls were received reporting the fire, the first from a neighbor, the second from one of the boys.
“Someone from across the way who had seen smoke called 9-1-1 first. One of the boys called when he got outside as well,” said White.
Upon arrival, flames could be seen shooting from the roof, upper and lower windows, sending smoke billowing skyward.
As crews worked to control the fire, the distraught homeowners were consoled at the scene by loved ones.
The cause of the fire may not be known for some time, if ever, White indicated.
“The house is a total loss. Due to the extent of damage, the cause hasn’t been determined. The fire remains under investigation. It may be difficult to say what the exact cause was,” said White.
Tim Lowell, an investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, was on the scene Tuesday to investigate.
Firefighters were hampered in their attempt to save the home due to the winding driveway through a heavily-wooded area leading to the house. With no place to turn around, rescue vehicles had to back out of the driveway before other vehicles could make their way in to the scene. This resulted in a lag time for water delivery, leaving crews unable to do anything but wait and watch as the fire burned its way through the two-story home. Hoses crisscrossed the driveway as firefighters maneuvered for the best position to battle the blaze.
Fire departments from four communities and several firefighters responded to the fire.
“Presque Isle responded with two engines and two tankers and their crews. We notified Easton and they responded with an engine and a tanker. Mars Hill provided us with their tanker. And Mapleton responded with an engine and tanker,” said White.
In all, White said there were approximately 30 firefighters on hand to fight the blaze.
The Maine Forest Protection Division provided assistance as well, putting out spot fires in the woods surrounding the structure.
Neighbors reported hearing loud pops from the home, believed to be propane tanks, and rolling black smoke could be seen from as far away as Crouseville.
It took crews until early evening to control the blaze, according to White.
“The fire was under control by about 7 p.m., with the fire mostly extinguished about an hour later,” said White.
Crews remained on the scene for some time after that to mop up and handle any flare-ups.
White said it was fortunate no one was hurt.
“No injuries were reported,” said White. “Only two people were home at the time of the fire and they made it out safely.”
The home was reportedly insured.
The investigation continues in an effort to determine the cause of the fire.