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UPDATE: Man Found Dead Outside His Burning Perry Home - Dec. 15, 2013

PERRY, Maine -- (WQDY) -  A 93-year-old man died after fire swept his home on Birch Point Road.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said Monday the victim is Curtis Probert, 93, whose body was found in the driveway of his house.


The Medical Examiner's Office said Probert died from a combination of smoke
inhalation and burns. Fire investigators said Probert was able to escape the
burning house, but collapsed in the driveway.

The fire was discovered by Probert's wife, Antoinette Probert, who lives in a
mobile home next door to the house.

Perry Fire Chief Paula Frost said the call came in just after 4 p.m. on Saturday and was fully engulfed as crews arrived -- and discovered Probert's body in the driveway.

Mutual aid came to the scene from Eastport, Pleasant Point, Pembroke and Robbinston. Down East EMS also responded to the scene.

Firefighters were hampered by the bitter cold and lack of a nearby water source.

"We were trucking water from about 6 miles away and with the cold temperatures. A lot of the trucks froze by the time they left the water source and got to the scene. In fact, we sent a couple of trucks back to their stations because their pump handles had froze up and we just couldn't get water out of them," Frost said.

"The hoses were freezing and any places you hit with water -- the minute it hit the ground -- it just turned to ice. People were getting cold, too. I'm not sure what the wind chill factor was ..but the temperature was about 2 degrees F and the wind chill factor was even worse."

The American Red Cross assisted Antoinette Probert with lodging because some of utilities to the trailer came from the main house. Frost said Bangor Hydro crews rerouted power from the house to the trailer so things wouldn't freeze but she had no water.
   
Frost said there were 14 pieces of fire apparatus -- mostly tankers to shuttle water -- one person at the hydrant and a minimum of about 20 firefighters. 

Crews were on the scene until just before ten p.m. Saturday.

STORY: Tom McLaughlin WQDY-WALZ news@wqdy.fm