No one hurt, but significant damage from Barton fire

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copyright the Chronicle January 31, 2018

by Elizabeth Trail


BARTON — It was just luck that Greg Provencher came home from work a little early on Tuesday afternoon. And even so, it took a few moments for his brain to process that his house was on fire.

“I noticed that the curtains looked kind of yellow,” he said, watching from across the street as firefighters moved purposefully in and out of his High Street home. “And then I felt the glass and it was warm and it hit me that it was a fire.”

Mr. Provencher and a family member tried to fight the fire, which started when firewood stacked too close to the wood stove caught fire.

But after pouring a bucket of water on the floor they realized that they needed to call the fire department.

At some point, Mr. Provencher thought of his dog Jace, a two-year-old lab and pitbull mix who was crated in the room next to the wood stove.

“I ran in through a side door and pulled his crate outside,” he said.

Later, he said, he was allowed to dash back into the house to grab some clothes, but he couldn’t get things for all of his family.

The fire burned down through the floor around the stove and into the basement, Orleans Fire Chief E.J. Rowell said.

“There was significant damage to that room and some in the basement,” he said.

Firefighters had to cut into the walls to be sure they got all of the fire. And there is smoke throughout the house.

But it could have been worse.

“We called Glover and then canceled,” Mr. Rowell said.

“The guys did a really wonderful job getting that fire out.”

The Orleans Fire Department is made up of what until recently were the separate Barton and Orleans departments. It maintains stations in each town but shares equipment, personnel, and administrative services.

Barton Ambulance and the Sheriff’s Department also responded.

As the firefighters started to pack up their gear, a subdued but uninjured Jace watched the goings-on from the safety of a car parked across the street.

It’s been a dramatic 24 hours for Mr. Provencher. On Monday night he looked out the window and saw someone going through his truck and his girlfriend’s car.

“I scared him pretty good,” he said, with the only grin he had left by Tuesday afternoon. “That’s all I’m going to say.”

The State Police report says that its investigation of a complaint “which was thwarted by the would-be victim” led to two arrests.

In the meantime, Mr. Provencher has no way of knowing what can be salvaged from the fire.

“I can’t believe two things like this happening just one-two,” he said.

But luck is still with him. “I have insurance,” he said. And he has family to stay with.

contact Elizabeth Trail at

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