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Neighbor describes frantic moments as Harpswell residents escape fire

A Harpswell man is charged with arson after investigators say he lit paper products on fire, destroying the mobile home he was renting. (WGME)

HARPSWELL (WGME) -- A Harpswell man is charged with arson after investigators say he lit paper products on fire, destroying the mobile home he was renting.

Kyle Newton said he was getting ready for work when he started to smell smoke.

"Opened up the door and it was filling the house and I just shouted, 'fire,'" said Newton.

At the same time, Matthew Gaspar was packing his lunch next door when he saw one of his neighbor jump through a window, which then became engulfed in flames.

"First thing I did was run out the front door," said Gaspar.

Newton, his roommate, and a friend staying over all struggled to see and breathe as they made their way to the back door. They were met by Gaspar.

"I saw Matt coming around," said Newton. "He looked like the front to the Braveheart movie, where he's running and grabbing everything."

No one could get back inside to save two dogs.

"I wanted to go back, but when you turn back the fire hits you like a wall," Newton said.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office,the mobile home is destroyed, and the fire, started by one of the men who rents it. Bradley Wallace, 30, is charged with arson.

"His whole room was on fire when he jumped out," said Gaspar. "You could see the flames come out, right out his bedroom."

Newton walked away with only his car keys and wallet, but he said he's lucky to be here and he couldn't ask for a better neighbor.

"It's a good counter-balance to the whole, 'life-flashing-before-your-eyes' moment," said Newton. "It's a good counter-balance to have, absolutely. I'm glad he was here."

Gaspar said he didn't even think twice.

"It's what friends do. They're my friends that live next door," said Gaspar. "You know, it's the neighbor thing to do. I'd do it for anyone in my neighborhood, anybody around here."

Wallace was taken to the hospital for burns and cuts and then to the Cumberland County Jail. He's being held on $50,000 cash bail.

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