Two-alarm fire destroys cottage

A Southwest Harbor Fire Department member takes a photo of a Thursday night fire the crew assisted with on the North Graff Road in Bar Harbor.

BAR HARBOR —No one was injured in a fire that destroyed a cottage on North Graff Road on June 2.  

Bar Harbor Fire Chief Matthew Bartlett and his crew arrived at the burning single-story cottage roughly five minutes after the call.  

The cottage, called “Little Acorn,” owned by Ralph and Millicent Graff, was unoccupied at the time.  

Around 20 firefighters were able to extinguish the fire from outside the house.  

“When we arrive at a structure that is fully involved, we go into what is called a defensive attack, which means we don’t enter the building and we just hit it from the outside, positioned at the best locations,” Chief Bartlett said. He added that the fire, down a long, private road, was mostly contained and was not a threat to other structures. A leaking propane tank had to be removed immediately, however.   

“We had to concentrate a water stream on the leaking tank to dissipate the gas coming from it,” said Chief Bartlett. 

The incident also brought Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor fire departments to the site while Trenton Fire Department was on standby at the Somesville fire station.  

Between drenching the flames and picking up equipment, the fire departments had the fire out by 10 p.m. Crews remained on scene searching for hotspots with a thermal camera until 1 a.m. 

State Fire Marshal Investigator John Wardwell found that the fire was accidental in nature and was the result of a malfunctioning propane hot water heater.  

The cottage is a total loss. “We are devastated and still trying to process all of this,” said the Graffs’ daughter Stephanie. “Our dear cottage had so much history with our family as well as the families who preceded us.” 

**This story was corrected to name the cottage owner’s daughter Stephanie.

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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