Fire Inspector Wilbur Ricker's 1981 Fire Report

Fire Inspector Wilbur Ricker's fire report —2/18/81–2/24/81

February 18 1981
Large log cottage involved with near complete burning. Man observed leaving scene by Fire Chief. Two five gallon cans found near building, one full and the other with about one gallon left with no cover. Taken for lab check. Left scene after checking to assist on fatal Bangor fire. Will be investigated when time is available. [Ricker told me that the Phillips Lake fire was in his jurisdiction but he was pulled off and sent to Bangor, out of his jurisdiction.].

February 24, 1981
Property involved in this fire: A one-story cottage about 20 x 40 of split log construction. Building burned to the ground with all four sides [fallen] out during fire. The way these walls fell out indicated considerable fast burning fuel load inside of structure. [Where was Pollard?] The walls all indicated fire was inside of structure with fire even all around. [Where was Pollard?] No area disclosed the heavy burn that would be evident had a fire of some natural cause taken place. Clean glass found broken with no smoke or heat stains indicated it was broken out prior to fire inside. This could have occurred by possible gasoline explosion by vapors prior to fire. [Where was Pollard?] For these reasons and the fact the fire chief saw a man leaving the scene leads to no other opinion except a fire of human element origin.

On Feb. 24th this Inspector went to the scene with [Maine State Police] Cpl. [Allan] Jamison for more information and observations for report. It had been noted before that the self-closer on outside front door to porch was locked in open position. While attempting to search for the hinges a body was noted just inside of door in the debris. At first it was believed to be a dog but as soon as some debris was moved Jamison noted the skull of a human.”

That was my son!