Islesboro firefighters saved a residence after a fire started in the corner of a basement Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Fire Chief Murton Durkee said the department was dispatched at 4:20 p.m. to respond to a residence at 189 Tehan Lane for an unknown issue. When crews arrived, they discovered smoke had filled the home and a fire had started in the corner of the basement.

Durkee said cardboard, paper and three car tires were stacked in the corner of the basement where the fire started. He said one of the tires burned, and the fire nearly made it into the walls.

“We had to rip out some of the sheet rock,” Durkee said

The cause of the fire was determined to be due to an electrical device that overheated, the state Fire Marshal's Office said.

Durkee said the fire did significant damage to the wiring and plumbing in the basement, but other than smoke damage, the remainder of the house was still structurally sound.

He estimated the total damage to the home to be between $5,000 and $6,000.

The husband, wife and children, who were at the home at the time of the fire, and their two dogs, were able to escape without injury. Durkee attributed their successful evacuation to the working smoke detectors in the home, which alerted the family.

“The smoke detectors made a big difference in this fire,” he said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames by 7 p.m., but remained on scene until after 8 p.m. to ensure the fire was out.

No firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

Durkee noted that it was fortunate the snow and mixed precipitation forecast to hit the state did not arrive until Thursday, because it could have complicated efforts to extinguish the fire.

“We had bare ground and everything proceeded relatively smoothly,” Durkee said.

Durkee urged all residents to make sure they have functioning smoke detectors in their homes.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at