NORTH BANGOR — A woman was killed and her fiancé was injured in an early-morning fire that destroyed a house on County Route 22 on Saturday.
The woman, identified by Bangor Fire Chief Anthony Riley as Corrina McRade, died when she failed to escape the burning building.
“She made it to the door but she never made it out,” Riley said.
The injured man was identified as 45-year-old Brian Snyder. Snyder was hospitalized for observation overnight at the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone after suffering from smoke inhalation, Riley said.
The couple had become engaged just four days earlier, according to Riley.
The couple had been sleeping in a second-floor bedroom when they became aware of the blaze, which apparently started in the rear of the house, Riley said. The house had smoke detectors, but because of the location of the flames and the layout of the house, they weren’t triggered before the couple had been awakened shortly before 4 a.m., he said.
As they were escaping, Snyder thought McRade was right behind him but didn’t realize she was not until he had gotten out of the building, Riley said.
Flames tore through the structure so quickly and so intensely that the building was fully engulfed by the time fire crews arrived just minutes after receiving the call, Riley said. Firefighters were unable to enter the building because of the flames and heat so intense it melted the curtains in the house next door, he said.
The initial fire call stated someone was trapped, but any rescue effort was complicated by reports that two houses were on fire but did not say which house someone was trapped in, Riley said. The neighboring house was burning when firefighters arrived, but they were able to knock down those flames and save the building, he said.
“We were able to get something good out of it anyway,” he said.
Firefighting efforts were also complicated by a downed power line that stretched across County Route 22, preventing fire crews arriving from U.S. Route 11 to the south from reaching the north side of the building directly. Some responding units were rerouted to approach the scene from the north, a detour that added several miles to their arrival.
Those arriving from the north drew water from a pond about a half-mile north of the scene. Hydrants were available to crews on the south side.
The building, which Riley said was valued at about $180,000, was a total loss.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation by county and state investigators Saturday evening.
Crews from Bangor, Brushton, Dickinson, Malone, Moira and Westville — a total of about 60 firefighters — battled the blaze, Riley said. Bangor firefighters returned to service almost exactly 12 hours after the call came in.