News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 2, 2014
Range Road fire destroys house; owner escapes unhurt - VIDEO

Range Road fire on December 30 in Blue Hill

Smoke billows out of the attic at 245 Range Road on December 30.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Haskell

by Anne Berleant

A house and its contents were destroyed on the morning of December 30, after a fire broke out “somewhere in the neighborhood of the downstairs stove” at 245 Range Road in Blue Hill, said Blue Hill Fire Chief Dennis Robertson.

The owner, Willis “Bill” Monroe, was inside when a neighbor saw smoke rising from the house and called 911. Monroe was helped outside by neighbors unharmed.

“There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians,” Robertson said. “Everyone came through with flying colors.”

Local fire departments first responded at 10:11 a.m., with Sedgwick, Penobscot and Brooklin companies assisting Blue Hill. There was only smoke when they arrived, Robertson said, but soon flames began shooting from the roof. The house is considered a complete loss.

“Based on heavy water usage and the fire itself, the house and contents by and large were pretty much destroyed,” Robertson said. Monroe is staying with his daughter.

Fire trucks left the scene at 1:13 but returned at 3:45 p.m.

“There was a couch that didn’t want to stay out,” Robertson said.

While the exact cause of the fire could not be determined, “there was nothing mysterious, no indications of anything like arson,” Robertson said. “I don’t think we’ll ever know what happened.”


Firefighters from Blue Hill, Brooklin, Penobscot and Sedgwick fight heavy smoke at a fire at 245 Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30. There were no injuries. Video by Anne Berleant

Once the fire was under control, Robertson sent one truck back from those departments that had sent two to the scene.

“It was getting real cold and I didn’t want to freeze any fire truck.”

While the four towns were responding to the Range Road call, the Orland department was “standing up” in the event of another call.

“It’s a good working system,” Robertson said. “We’ve put it place since 1949 and it’s worked well.”

This is the second call the Blue Hill Fire Department has responded to in recent days, with a house catching fire on Union Street in Blue Hill last week.

“That one we saved,” Robertson said.

“We’ve been lucky. It’s an awfully hard time to have a fire with the slippery ice. But we had good help from Hancock County RCC. They did a wonderful job, as did all of our mutual aid neighbors…It’s what makes Maine work.”

Firefighters battle structure fire on the Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30.

Firefighters battle structure fire on the Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Firefighters battle structure fire on the Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30.

Firefighters battle structure fire on the Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Firefighters battle structure fire on the Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30

Firefighters from Blue Hill, Brooklin, Penobscot and Sedgwick respond to a fire at 245 Range Road in Blue Hill on December 30. The house and contents “by and large” were destroyed, said Blue Hill Fire Chief Dennis Robertson, but no civilian or firefighter was injured.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Range Road fire on December 30 in Blue Hill

Smoke billows out of the attic at 245 Range Road on December 30.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Haskell