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Caribou firefighters save multiple homes from grass and stove fires

CARIBOU, Maine — The Caribou Fire and Ambulance crew saved multiple homes on May 14 that were threatened by outdoor fires.

The first fire was called in at noon in Woodland. Caribou Fire and Ambulance Chief Scott Susi said the crew immediately determined that it was caused by a pellet stove that had mulch underneath it.

Eleven firefighters fought the flames, which had ignited the mulch and spread to the side of the house. Because of the crew’s quick response, the chief said the firefighters were able to knock the fire down quickly and save the home.

The crew was only on the scene for about an hour.

“They did a great job,” he said, adding that the owners will likely only need to replace some of the exterior trim, and that the mainline entry for power was also damaged. An electrician was able to pull the meter after the fire, and Susi said they were likely up and going with power later that afternoon.

He said this is not the first call the department has received for a fire caused by a pellet stove and that these stoves can exhaust embers, which have the potential to be a serious fire hazard.

Susi Strongly recommended that the exhaust from these stoves should be directed up and away from homes and that mulch should not be placed underneath them.

Caribou Fire and Ambulance, with the assistance of Van Buren firefighters and the Maine Forest Service, saved three homes and one auxiliary structure from an outdoor fire in Connor Township on May 14. Courtesy of Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department

Just two hours after saving the New Sweden Road home, the crew was called out for another fire in Connor Township that had started in the woods adjacent to former Loring Air Force Base housing that is currently owned by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.

Caribou received aid from the Van Buren Fire Department and the Maine Forest Service for this fire, and a total of 16 were on the scene for two hours fighting against rough winds.

Susi said the crew found a small structure surrounded by fire when they first arrived, and that they were able to knock that fire down and also prevent any damage to three homes directly in the fire’s path.

Caribou Fire and Ambulance, with the assistance of Van Buren firefighters and the Maine Forest Service, saved three homes and one auxiliary structure from an outdoor fire in Connor Township on May 14. Courtesy of Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department

Susi commended everyone on the scene for acting quickly and saving multiple homes while fighting against 20-mile-per-hour winds.

And while the fire department was able to quickly determine the cause of the Woodland fire, the Connor Township fire is currently under investigation.
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