A house at 119 Burnell Drive in Yarmouth caught fire Friday night, roughly three hours after a family used a charcoal grill on their wooden porch, according to Yarmouth Fire Rescue.
The occupants, a mother and a daughter, escaped from the house and were unharmed, said the fire chief, Michael Robitaille. The house is probably a total loss, he said, estimating the loss at around $ 350,000.
Robitaille said the Yarmouth firefighters received several calls about the fire Friday night, the first just before midnight. The firefighters were at the scene in six minutes and reported that the house was already well involved in the fire. Yarmouth requested assistance from the departments of Cumberland and Freeport.
A total of 25 firefighters, none of whom were injured, fought the fire, which extended from the back porch to the first two floors of the house. The fire was under control in an hour, and firefighters were on the scene for two and a half hours, Robitaille said.
The occupants were sleeping at the time the fire started, Robitaille said. The smoke detectors in the house initially did not shut down because the fire started outside, he said. The residents told the firefighters that they heard a noise that woke them up, then they saw the fire and escaped.
Robitaille said residents had been grilling on Friday night with charcoal briquettes on a wooden deck, and the source of the fire appeared to be in the same area. He said it's important for people to be careful when organizing this Memorial Day weekend.
"I think the security message that can be learned from this is not having grills on a terrace or on a porch," said Robitaille. "They are not meant to be there, and they are too close to fuel."
He said the wind "may have been a factor" at the start of the Burnell Drive fire, and rekindled the embers that appeared to be off.
"You can think that the embers are out," Robitaille said, "but in reality they are not because they are sometimes burning inside."
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