“Great credit was given to the Lincoln Academy boys and all others who worked valiantly to stop the blaze.”
This picture shows the path of the fire in the vast unbroken space between River Road and the former Hopkins Hill Road. The uncontrolled fire raced toward Academy Hill Road, near the center of the picture, threatening the businesses and the houses there. The help provided by additional manpower proved vital, like the boys from Lincoln Academy who walked into areas where the fire trucks could not drive. (Photo courtesy Newcastle Historical Society Museum)
Arlene Cole ’47 Reports on Local History: Newcastle Fire of 1953
From The Lincoln County News
Last month, I wrote of the beginnings of a fire company in Newcastle and Damariscotta in 1896, and how the towns worked together to get buildings and equipment to defend the area. Today, all the local fire companies work together in mutual aid.
I came across an article showing how much these companies have been called on. This article I found does not credit the writer or paper it was in, but it has March 12, 1953 written across the top.
It may have been a dry year because on Tuesday, the fire companies were called out for a fire on Chase’s Point, Sheepscot, and on Wednesday, they were called again, to Bristol.
Then Newcastle was hit. It all started simply enough. Hot ashes spread from a trash pile on the River Road, what is now Route 1 in Newcastle, between the then Fred Sherman house and the Lincoln Terrace.
It was accepted practice to burn trash at home in the rural area. Many people had outdoor incinerators to cut down on the amount of papers, etc. that had to be taken to the dump. It was a carryover from early days when it was possible to get rid of burnable items in a wood burning stove.
As with this story, people were sometimes careless with these outside burners and ashes were not always cold when they were left unattended. So much damage was done through the years, the practice was stopped.
This time, hot ashes on a trash pile escaped. They spread over the land behind the houses along in a row. This was before the new road through Newcastle was built in 1960. The accompanying picture shows much open land, and I am sure much trash had been building up there for years.
Originally published November 23, 2023 in The Lincoln County News. Click on the link above to read the full article.