BAR HARBOR — No one was home when a fire broke out in a house near the Salisbury Cove post office Tuesday morning. The building was gutted, and not much is salvageable.
The Bar Harbor Fire Department was notified at 9:23 a.m., Fire Chief Matt Bartlett said. There was “heavy fire” blowing out of the windows when crews arrived at the Old Bar Harbor Road house, he said. Smoke was billowing from all of the windows.
It was the home of Jesse MacDonnell and Heidi Hambrecht, who lived there with Hambrecht’s children, Isaac, 13, and Eli, 7. Two cats had been in the house; only one has been located.
Hambrecht’s sister Amanda Hambrecht Austin, also of Bar Harbor, said that she and Hambrecht had just dropped off the children at school when they got the call.
The cause of the fire is undetermined, according to the Maine State Fire Marshall’s Office.
“From what we know, it started in the kitchen,” Austin said. “And of course, [Heidi] had just bought her Christmas gifts on Black Friday.”
Crews from Mount Desert, Ellsworth, Southwest Harbor, Hancock, Trenton, Lamoine and Tremont provided mutual aid, according to Bartlett, including shuttling water from a hydrant fed by nearby Hamilton Pond. The Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service provided dispatch support.
The fire was extinguished around noon, but firefighters were on the scene until 5 p.m. Teams attacked the fire from the ground and the roof, using ladder trucks, until it was safe to send firefighters inside the building.
No other structures were damaged.
“Every possession we own is lost,” Hambrecht told the Islander on Wednesday. “I don’t have a spoon; I don’t have a coffee cup. It’s devastating.”
Hambrecht said that this house was her family home as a child, and she moved back in three years ago.
“Everything had a memory,” she said. “[There are] a lot of good memories in that house.”
The property is owned by the Creamer Revocable Trust in Laramie, Wyo., according to town records. Hambrecht said she has a close relationship with the property owners and hopes to rebuild the house.
“I know we’re going to rebuild,” she said. “I’m very hopeful that we will have our home back.”
The fire department contacted the American Red Cross to offer assistance to the family, as is their practice when residents are displaced by fire.
Austin started an online fundraising page with a goal of $25,000 to replace appliances and clothing. As of Wednesday morning, 52 donors had contributed $6,500.
Hambrecht said she has been touched by community’s efforts to get her family on their feet after the fire.
Updated on Dec. 6 at 1:50 p.m.