GORHAM (WGME) – An historic home in Gorham was destroyed after a massive fire swept through it Sunday.
Fire officials said a freak accident is to blame.
Centuries of history destroyed within a matter of minutes.
Chief Robert Lefebvre of the Gorham Fire Deptartment said “It was built in 1803 and on our arrival we had real heavy fire on 3 floors.”
Gorham firefighters said just after 3 a.m. Sunday a neighbor saw flames shooting through the roof.
A witness Matthew Esty stated “The back of the chimney up there on top looked like it was on fire and then hours later they were still fighting it.”
For more than seven hours crews from five cities battled the fast moving fire.
“At one point the fire was so intense that we had to pull crews out.” added Chief Lefebvre.
The flames ripped through every floor But firefighters said it all started in a trash can near the kitchen.
Chief Lefebvre said “It is a freak accident, but it’s not unheard of either.”
Crews said the owner of the home was using steel wool to clean earlier in the day. But when they threw it away, it had an unfortunate reaction with some batteries that were already in the trash.
Chief Lefebvre stated “It allowed the battery and the steel wool to heat up enough to ignite the rest of the paper and stuff that was in the trash bag.”
Firefighters have said if you’re going to be throwing away a battery like this, to first take a little piece of tape, cover the connectors on top before throwing it in the trash.”
Luckily the homeowner wasn’t home when the fire started.
But neighbors said the loss of this historic home is devastating.
“It was pretty surreal, you don’t see a big house fire like this up close every day.” added Esty.