Capt. Mike Schmidt

Early morning house fire engulfs Bell Street home

Mission fire crews responded to house fire around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday

A young family has been left homeless less than two weeks before Christmas after an early morning fire destroyed their house on Bell Street in Stave Falls.

Resident Katelyn Gagnon suspects the fire started in the garage around 4 a.m. Wednesday, but fire investigators have not yet determined the cause of the blaze or where it originated.

“We’re still investigating,” explained Fire Chief Larry Watkinson. “We’ll be on scene all day.”

Firefighters had to work hard and fast when they arrived to control the flames that had already engulfed the house. Crews were further challenged by trees around the property that restricted access to a good stream of water. Instead, firefighters had to use smaller hand lines.

We had it under control in about three house, said Watkinson, adding it took another hour to wrap up.

Watkinson noted the home had three active fire alarms, but none were triggered because the fire entered the house through the roof. The smoke was above the detectors, he explained.

“Although we don’t know the cause, in these cold weather conditions, everyone should be cautious when using external heating sources,” advised the fire chief.