Searsport home shows signs of fire.

The charred remains around a window in the laundry room at 59 Mount Ephraim Road in Searsport June 11. The blaze was contained to the laundry room, but the Tanton family lost all their furniture and most of their clothes. Fran Gonzalez

SEARSPORT — A fire Wednesday night displaced a family of four along with their two dogs.

Bethany and Louis Tanton, who live at 59 Mount Ephraim Road, were on a video call with Bethany’s oldest son at around 10:30 p.m. when their son Jacob, who was in bed, said he smelled smoke.

Louis said upon entering the kitchen, he found the room full of smoke. It was “solid smoke,” he said, and it was coming from the laundry room. He opened the dryer and realized it was on fire.

After closing the laundry room door, he got everyone outside through the back door, including the family’s two dogs that were in kennels.

The couple’s two young boys, one 5 and the other one 6, were in bed sleeping. “I grabbed them from their beds, and put one under each arm,” Bethany said. “They were still in their underwear.”

Louis said he was concerned because the propane tank that services the house was just on the other side of the wall where the dryer was on fire. “I was scared,” Bethany said, “It could have been really bad.”

Firemen were able to save the structure without any propane explosion, she said, but the whole house will need to be gutted and renovated. “We’re in the process of seeing what we can salvage,” she said, “before they start to demo.”

Louis said that between the chemicals, the smoke and the water damage, all of their furniture, including beds, and most of their clothes will need to be replaced.

The family said their neighbor took them in and gave them clothes and food. “We are very thankful for our neighbors,” Bethany said. The landlord also helped load what could be salvaged, along with the fire department crew, who lent a hand loading a freezer, Louis said.

The family is currently staying with relatives and is in search of a camper to live in for the summer while their house is being worked on. Bethany said, “We were very lucky. Blessed we are.”

Searsport Fire Chief Andy Webster said the Mount Ephraim fire June 10 was contained to the laundry room, where the “dryer itself caught fire,” and there were no injuries. He said the house sustained a lot of smoke and water damage.

Besides Searsport Fire Department and Ambulance, he said, West Frankfort fire crews responded. The Red Cross was also called, he noted.

A GoFundMe campaign is raising funds for the family to help them get back on their feet. To donate, visit

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