A Fiery Mystery in Maine

Dum Dum Dum, Dump Dump Da Dom

Dum Dum Dum Dump Da Dom

Storm Clouds Comin' In

Storm Clouds Comin’ In

There are some songs that shouldn’t leave the shower.

There are some songs you just don’t want to have stuck in your head.

There are some songs that you just don’t want to have become part of your life.


Smoke on The Water is one of them.

Our little retirement/vacation cottage in Maine caught fire in July.  Spontaneously combusted.  Burst into flame for no reason anybody has ever figured out.

We weren’t there.  Nobody was there, luckily.

Even more luckily, it burned just a little bit.  The nice part, naturally.  Not the kitchen which I would have been happy to replace.  Not the bathroom that has pink 60s tiles with cute pink fishies.  Nope.

The nice part by the living room burned – the picture window that overlooks my masthead and “No Point.” [That’s the bit of land in the picture that looks like the first point.   John dubbed it “No Point” because from our angle it looks like a little point, but it isn’t a point at all.]

Interior ceiling

And even more luckily, it happened at lunch time, when a guy who was renting a cottage across the cove was relaxing outside with a sandwich, noticed smoke and called the fire department.  The fire chief, a volunteer, was working construction two doors down.  He arrived within minutes and the damage was kept down to mere pain in the ass status, as opposed to total devastation.  So we are lucky.  Very lucky.

Volunteer Firemen -- Risking their lives

Volunteer Firemen — Risking their lives

Nobody can figure out what happened.  There were no bad wires, no combustibles in the attic.  No evidence of vandalism.  Nada.  A flamin’ mystery.

Danielle exterior roof

We are still trying to find the person who reported it, so we can thank him.  He was renting a house across the way, and we don’t yet know who he was or how we can get in touch with him.

So John and I up here in Maine, looking at a different angle, trying to get work going on our house.  And saying thank you to a whole lot of folks.

Special thanks to the firefighters who arrived so quickly and saved our cute little place.  And to the mystery man who saw it and saved it.

Huge thanks also Doug and Renee, who have done so much in the immediate aftermath and ever since.

To Danielle and to Ella for breaking the bad news.  To Annette and Danielle for the pictures.

Thanks to Bill and Ken and the other insurance folks who are helping us rebuild.

And I’m thanking my lucky stars that it wasn’t worse.



Filed under Huh?, Maine, Music, Mysteries

56 responses to “A Fiery Mystery in Maine

  1. Scary! I’m glad your sweet little home wasn’t ruined. Hope you find some answers.


    • Sorry I missed this comment, Karen. Thanks — I think we’ve simply made up the only answer that makes sense — a not quite spent bottle rocket. At least that’ll keep us from fretting too much.


  2. Sorry to hear about the fire. But I do like your official description of the damage: pain in the ass rather than total loss. I hope you put that on the insurance claim forms! 😉 Good luck with the clean up and repair. That place looks like a real treasure. I had to give up the little camp “we” had on the lake in the the divorce. I really miss the idea of a retirement get-away on the water…


  3. I’m glad that no one got hurt, and the house was saved. Thank goodness we still have firefighters.


    • Thanks, X. These guys were actually volunteers … It is a small town. But when I think of all the folks who malign firefighters and police (and teachers) it really burns me up.


  4. Whoa! Sorry for the fire, but so glad it was caught early and nobody was hurt.


  5. Eek…glad you are okay and that it didn’t get totally burned down!! Hope the rebuilding gets done soon 🙂


  6. Oh Elyse, this is terrible and sad. I am so glad you weren’t there and nobody was hurt. So glad insurance will cover damages and you can rebuild. What a beautiful view!


    • Thanks Val. It is a lovely place. We are staying a few miles away, and it’s nice, but not the same. I’m glad that the problem is merely pain-in-the-ass status and nothing more. Usually, anyway!


  7. It is a shame about the fire and damage but thank goodness you are all OK and that you had some wonderful people looking out for your little piece of paradise.


  8. I’m glad nothing too serious happened as a result of this.


  9. I love that your community up there looks out for each other!

    And very glad the damage is more annoying than serious.


    • Me too, on all counts.

      There is a new, huge mansion not far from where we are. The owner is a total jerk and doesn’t permit folks to walk on the beach in front of his property (which is legal). Somehow if his house spontaneously combusts I doubt folks will act so quickly.



  10. Elyse – So sorry about your cottage fire. That’s indeed a bummer. I pray you didn’t lose too many valuables and/or items of real sentimental value to your heart and soul. That’s the part I often have a hard time dealing with. I do hope the repairs are completed up to code and you are able to enjoy your favorite vacation cottage once again.


    • Thank you, Sheri. There was only one thing I was really worried about — an embroidered sampler I gave to my late sister, that I got back after she passed. It was hanging in tha.t corner, and I mourned its loss. But when we arrived, miraculously, it was safely placed out of harm’s way. I cried all over again!


  11. Another example of timing is everything …. the guy having lunch, the fire chief nearby …. Good luck with the repairs.


  12. Wow! Sounds scary and a hassle to deal with, but I’m glad it wasn’t worse.


  13. Quite a story! The always important part — no one hurt!

    And, maybe pink bathroom tiles will come back in fashion soon…..


  14. You really were lucky – glad it was saved and no one was hurt!


  15. Cheers to your neighbor who saw smoke and called in the fire department.


  16. Luanne

    Wow, that’s scary! I’m glad it wasn’t worse, but still. And the subject of spontaneous combustion terrifies me, especially since there have been cases of people doing so!!!!!!!!!!


    • It is pretty scary. But when it happens to people, I think smoking is generally involved Another reason not to smoke!


      • Luanne

        There are stories though of people just spontaneously combusting!!! But maybe they are just unsolved mysteries.


        • That’s right. And it is w
          Hat we have here. The only possible explanation that makes sense is that a not-quite-spent bottle rocket landed in the gutter and smoldered in the heat. But that is a 1 in 1 million chance. But the evidence would have been destroyed.


  17. I wish you would find that man who saw it and reported. He/she must be a great soul.


  18. Clinton

    I’m so sorry. I guess it could have been worse. Want me to go up and fix it?


  19. I’ve heard of things happening that way, spontaneous eruptions for no apparent reason, but haven’t known it to happen to anyone I knew until now. (Blogging buddies count as people we know – right?) Good luck with the repairs, and continued blessings for your great attitude. Thankful indeed.


  20. So sorry to hear that. Glad no one was hurt, but I’m sure it’s giving you plenty of headaches to deal with. How fortunate that man saw the smoke and acted so quickly!


  21. You were lucky! Glad all was/is manageable.


  22. bigsheepcommunications

    A fascinating little mystery – best of luck with the repairs!


  23. Tex Arty

    Sorry to hear of your mishap but Glad no one was hurt,


  24. Holy cow!

    I’m glad it wasn’t a total loss and especially glad that nobody was hurt!


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