The day after two tragic deaths and three fires in and around Oakfield, State Police and the State Fire Marshals Office are working to put together the pieces. But Monday’s events have left this small community saddened and stunned.
Neighbor Debbie Schillinger says, ”It was like a day out of a very bad movie..all day long..just very surreal..like you needed to wake up..and it wasn’t happening.”
For many years, Debbie Schillinger called Mike Kitchen and Heidi Pratt her neighbors. Just a day ago, everything changed. Firefighters responding to a fire at their home in Oakfield found two bodies that appeared to have been shot. One has been positively identified by the State Medical Examiner’s office as Kitchen, the other presumed to be Pratt. News that’s broken the hearts of everyone who knew them.
Glenn Tarr of New Limerick says, “They’re really good people in the community…everybody knows them…you know they would give their shirts of their back to you..I know its hard to believe but they are such nice people, it’s a really tragic thing that’s happened here in town.”
Friends say that Kitchen worked as a mechanic at Robert Kitchen and Sons Garage in Houlton. And Pratt worked as a home visitor for Healthy Families.
Susie Fink, a friend of Heidi’s, says “She was just an amazing woman and could always make you laugh..even if you were having the worst day ever.”
Schillinger says, “These two people were just two of the best people that you could ever ask for for friends and neighbors..they would be the first two to volunteer if there was something needed in the community..if you had a problem…they’d be more than willing to help..
Schillinger discussed what she’ll miss most about her neighbors.
“There will be a lot..and a lot of it will be small personal things..my tomatoes were always of interest in a certain recipe she used.. borrowing tools from my husband..just things back and forth.”
People from this small community and many towns surrounding agree that healing from this what they call “senseless” murder – will take a long, long time.