A fire that was believed to have started in the basement of a Searsmont home destroyed the residence despite efforts by firefighters, who kept the blaze contained to one room Thursday, Feb. 7.

Searsmont Fire Chief James Ames said he believed the fire originated in the basement near a woodstove before flames burned through the floor and out through the roof. Ames said firefighters were able to contain the fire, but the extensive damage from heat and smoke destroyed the home.

Ames said at least two cats died in the fire, and a few other animals in the house were unable to be located. A neighbor managed to break open a door to the residence, and Ames said he was unsure if some of the animals escaped as a result.

Despite temperatures hovering just above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, Ames said, crews never lost their water supply. One hose nozzle did freeze up, but not until firefighters were able to extinguish the fire.

“We got it knocked down pretty quick,” Ames said.

Crews were on scene until about midnight.

No one was injured in the fire, and Ames said he was unsure if the home was insured.

Crews from Appleton, Belmont, Lincolnville, Montville and Morrill responded to the scene.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.