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Firefighter's home burns down on Thanksgiving

The firefighter's family members responded to the blaze

The Associated Press

DRESDEN, Maine — Fire fighters and family members are helping a couple in Dresden pick up the pieces after fire destroyed their home yesterday.

The fire broke out after Albert and Rosemary Lilly had gone to their daughter's home for Thanksgiving dinner. Fire Chief Gerald Lilly, who is Albert's brother, says he believes the fire started around a wood stove, and had such a head start that firefighters could do nothing to stop it.

His nephew Steve is assistant chief, and is the one who actually spotted the fire. Steve Lilly says he and his wife were on their way to Thanksgiving dinner when they saw smoke coming from the house. Lilly's wife, made the 911 call to report the fire. He says flames were already visible in the back of the house, and that firey was shooting out the windows by the time the first truck arrived.

The fire was traumatic for Albert and Rosemary Lilly, the homeowners, but also for the whole fire department. Albert is a Dresden volunteer firefighter himself. Besides Gerald and Steve, at least three other family members are also involved with the department.

Gerald Lilly said fighting the fire was "tough", because they knew it was destroying all of his brother's belongings. But he said he had to focus on being fire chief, and the others had to focus on putting out the fire. "It's just the way it is," he said.

Firefighters were able to save a truck parked near the house, and saved the family's dog that was tied up near the house. But virtually everything inside appears to be lost.

Steve Lilly says several neighboring fire departments have already offered to help the family. Chief Lilly says the Dresden town office will be accepting donations of clothing and other items for the family starting next week, during regular business hours.

As for the family's involvement with the fire department, Steve Lilly says it began with his father, then attracted others. "I think we all just like to do the job," says Lilly, "and we like the town we live in and want to support it any way we can." 

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