NORTH BANGOR — A woman was killed and her fiance was injured in an early-morning fire that destroyed a house on County Route 22 Saturday.
The woman, Corrina Macrabie, died when she failed to escape the burning building.
“She made it to the door but she never made it out,” Bangor Fire Chief Anthony Riley said.
According to Riley, the white, two-story house located at 1129 Depot St. was fully engulfed when he arrived on the scene just before 4 a.m. Saturday.
In The Driveway
"There was a man in the driveway yelling and screaming, and the house was fully engulfed in flames," he said.
Riley identified the man as 45-year-old Brian Snyder.
Snyder was transported to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone with burns and smoke inhalation.
The couple had become engaged just four days earlier, according to Riley.
They 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 the detectors weren’t triggered before the couple had been awakened shortly before 4 a.m., he said.
As they were escaping, Snyder thought Macrabie was right behind him but didn’t realize she was not until he had gotten out of the building, Riley said.
Sandra Fahnestock, a neighbor who lives across the street, said she heard a loud bang around the time of the fire.
"I just went to bed and the boom sounds started. I went down and opened up the front door and saw his house fully engulfed in flames," she 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 that was 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.
"The fire started to go next door, but we were able to stop it," Riley said.
"We didn't have to cut power to the house and the people were able to go right back in... We were able to get something good out of it anyway.”
Downed Power Lines
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 house, 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.
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.
"She was an amazing person, very loving and would help almost anyone," said Misty Decker, Macrabie's niece.
Decker, of Sidney, said Macrabie was adopted at a young age by her grandparents, who raised her.
Snyder was released from the hospital Sunday morning.
He said he had a sore throat from breathing in smoke, but was, "holding up pretty good for the situation."
"I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for me and Corri," Snyder said.
"Corri was the best thing that came into my life."