DIXMONT, Maine - A corner store that opened for business about one month ago caught fire Sunday night and was likely a total loss, Dixmont Fire Chief James Dunivan said.
Firefighters were still dealing with fire in the attic of the Dixmont Corner Store, which is located at the intersection of Routes 7 and 9, at about 10:30 p.m. Dunivan said the cause and origin of the fire were unknown.
“It was all going when we got called out,” he said. “We don’ t have a clue where it got started or anything yet. All I know is, it was fully engulfed when we got here.”
Dunivan said the second floor was “all gone” due to the fire and smoke damage. The first floor, which housed the convenience store, suffered extensive water damage.
Dunivan was unsure if anyone was in the building at the time. It appeared the second floor was set up as an apartment but didn’ t seem to be occupied.
Crews were called to the scene at about 9 p.m. The Dixmont fire station is just a few hundred feet from the corner store.
Dunivan said he thought the building was owned by a man from Plymouth and was being leased to someone from another town. He was unsure of the owner’ s name and did not know if the building was insured.
The building, which had been a variety store over the years, was recently reopened. The corner store’ s different incarnations over the years made it tough to fight the fire, Dunivan said.
“The store’ s been rebuilt [several] times,” Dunivan said. “We’ re digging out false walls.”
State police shut down Routes 7 and 9 in the area around the intersection. Residents who were unable to reach their homes, along with those who live near the scene, watched the firefighters work on the building.
Charles Smith, who lives close to the fire station, said a neighbor called him after hearing about the fire on a scanner. Smith drove down to the scene to provide light with the headlights of his car. He also took some digital photos which showed flames coming out of windows on the second floor.
Route 9 resident Linda Hill, who lives a few houses down from the corner store, said she heard tires squealing outside of her home just before 9 p.m., which was the first indication to her something was wrong.
“Then I noticed a flickering red light and I thought, something’ s going on,” she said. “All of a sudden a fire truck arrived and I saw the smoke coming out of the right-hand side of the store. A little later I saw flames shooting out from the roof.”
Departments from Etna, Hampden, Newburgh, Plymouth and Troy also responded to the call as did a crew from Central Maine Power.