Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Propane gas barbecue grill likely cause of Clinton, ME home fire

A propane cooking grill, foreground, lies in a pile of burned debris Tuesday from a garage that burned Monday evening at the David McKeage residence on the Bellsqueeze Road in Clinton, ME. A car, truck and new siding on a nearby barn were damaged and a three-wheel motorcycle was destroyed after a passerby spotted smoke and flames shortly after McKeage had finished grilling dinner. Staff photo by David Leaming
By Madeline St. Amour, Staff Writer

CLINTON, ME — A barbecue gas grill likely caused a fire Monday evening that destroyed a garage and damaged a home on Bellsqueeze Road, officials said.

Clinton Fire Chief Timothy Fuller said that while officials believe the propane gas grill caused the blaze at 741 Bellsqueeze Road, there was “quite a bit of destructive damage” so the exact cause is not known.

The homeowners, David and Deborah McKeage, had used the grill to cook dinner, he said. While they were eating, a neighbor who saw the flames coming from their garage started honking in their driveway. Firefighters responded to the scene at 5:30 p.m.

“It was a large fire by that point,” Fuller said.

David McKeage was able to get out the door, but he had to help Deborah out a window. Because she was exposed to the strong heat for a longer time, she was taken to the emergency room at the Thayer Center for Health in Waterville as a precaution. She was released Monday night and the McKeages returned home, Fuller said.

The garage was destroyed, as well as a three-wheel Spyder motorcycle and a refrigerator that were stored inside it. A few propane tanks that were inside the garage also exploded, creating an intense heat that spread to the house and a newly sided barn, melting the vinyl. The heat also cracked some windows, Fuller said.

A pickup truck and a sedan parked outside of the garage were also damaged by the heat. The couple have insurance.

The fire was under control in about half an hour, Fuller said, and firefighters remained for another hour to make sure the fire was safely extinguished.

“My guys did an awesome job,” he said. “It was a really good knock down, because this thing was really cooking.”

The Clinton Fire Department was assisted by the Fairfield, Winslow and Canaan fire departments, as well as Clinton police. The Albion Fire Department covered the Clinton station while they were at the scene.