Fire and rescue personnel at the scene of a fire in Tremont July 25. PHOTO COURTESY OF KEITH HIGGINS

Tremont house catches fire after lightning strike

TREMONT — A lightning strike is believed to have been the cause of a fire on Monday that displaced a family of three staying at a rental property. 

The fire departments of Tremont, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor responded to the fire at 5:19 p.m., along with EMT services, with roughly two-dozen fire and rescue personnel. No one was injured.  

The fire was located in the basement of the house. While firefighters were able to contain it there, the main level of the house sustained significant water and smoke damage.. 

“We used about 1,000 gallons of water in all,” said Tremont Fire Chief Keith Higgins. “The building will need some pretty significant repairs.” 

There was a thunderstorm over Bass Harbor that day. Occupants claim that the building was struck by lightning, which caused the fire to start. 

The building, which is a former boat shop, has some equipment for boat building left in the house that firefighters think may have contributed to the fire started by the lighting strike. 

“The building was a former boat shop with metal rails that were used for launching boats,” said Chief Higgins. “The rails are still underneath the structure. We’re wondering if that’s what conducted the electrical source.” This is speculation, he said, and has not been determined as a definitive factor in the fire. 

The scene was cleared at around 7:30 p.m., and the Tremont Fire Department remained at the scene until electricity to the building was shut off by Versant Power. 

“We were there a little over two hours,” Chief Higgins said. 

The occupants of the house were a family of three who were vacationing in the rental property. While they were displaced by the fire, the property owner was able to relocate them down the street to finish out their vacation.  

“The owner has multiple houses on the same street. He was able to relocate them for a couple of nights,” said Chief Higgins. 


Malachy Flynn

Malachy Flynn

Reporter Malachy Flynn covers news on the Schoodic beat, which includes the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Sorrento, Sullivan, Trenton, Waltham, and Winter Harbor. He also reports on the town of Tremont on Mount Desert Island. He welcomes tips and suggestions about stories in the area. To contact Malachy with tips or questions, email him at [email protected].

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