Community responds to Fort Fairfield fire that took the lives of three family members

Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 2:15 PM EST
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FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine (WAGM) - A devastating fire took three lives in Fort Fairfield the morning of Thursday, November 2, 2023. The town and surrounding communities are mourning the great loss.

Officials believe the deceased to be Erik, Jessica, and Rose Elmer. A juvenile child was the only survivor of the tragedy. Tim Goff, the Fort Fairfield Town Manager, says everyone is feeling this immense loss.

“We’re just trying to find a way to move forward,” says Goff, “to assist the young man that has found himself homeless and has lost his family, but to also support other folks in the community that have been impacted.”

Rose Elmer, a 17-year-old who was lost in the fire, worked for the town at the library. “We’re going to do something with our librarians who lost a coworker and a friend, to do something to memorialize her,” Goff explains, “and clearly we’re here to support the family and this young kid in any way that we can.”

Goff says although the family had moved to Fort Fairfield fairly recently, they touched the community deeply. “They started to become engrained in the community, their daughter had graduated from high school here, and their son is a student at the high school,” Goff says. “We will continue to find a way to support these folks and help them and find an appropriate way to honor them.”

Fort Fairfield is not the only town affected by this loss. Erik Elmer was an adult learner at the University of Maine Presque Isle. UMPI President Ray Rice, issued a statement to the staff and students of the school.

President Rice wrote: “Erik will be dearly missed by our campus community. The untimely passing of Erik and his wife and daughter leave an incredible void in our communities and our thoughts are with their family, friends, and all who knew them during this incredibly difficult time.” Counseling services have also been made available to those in the campus community who are mourning.

MSAD 20 is the school district where Rose Elmer graduated this year and where the young survivor currently attends. Tanya Staples, the superintendent of the district, says support is available to students during this time through their Student Support Services.

Communities across Aroostook County are feeling this loss, and their thoughts are with the family of the deceased during this difficult time.