HOWLAND – Firefighters were able to save the home of a local man Friday, though an interior wall sustained extensive damage during an evening fire.
Four greater area departments joined Howland at 96 Penobscot Avenue after it was reported the interior of the property was filled with smoke.
“We thought it was a chimney fire,” Howland Fire Chief Josh McNally said Monday. “When we opened the door, it flared right up.”
He said the fire, which had spread into a wall behind a first-floor fire place, could have started as either a chimney fire or from combustable material stored too close to the heating appliance.
“Everything around the wood stove was on fire,” he said. “Either it was a chimney fire that escaped the chimney or it was caused by combustable too close to the wood stove.”
Firefighters from Lincoln, Lowell, Burlington and Greenbush traversed the icy road conditions at 6:30 p.m. to lend mutual aid to Howland as they attempted to save the home of Alan Crosby. The small house, with a tax value of $5,000, is owned by Crosby’s daughter Deana Randall.
McNally said his department arrived on scene within four minutes of the initial call, and that they were able to keep the fire contained to the one wall. He said several valuables were able to be removed in time, though he estimated $18,000 in property loss.
“The fire was into the wall,” he said, adding that there was “heavy charring” to the studs.
He said there was no one home at the time of the fire, and responders were able to extinguish it with water in the truck.
“We didn’t need to charge a hydrant,” he said.
Friday’s incident was the second in two days for the local team. On Thursday, firefighters traveled to Greenbush at 7:53 a.m. to help the Milford department investigate a report of smoke at the Helen S. Dunn School in Greenbush.
“It turned out to be a burned out light ballast,” McNally said.
The school had been safely evacuated prior to the two departments’ arrival.
The ambulance crew has also been busy this month, responding to 33 calls.

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