April 24, 2018
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Tan Turtle Restaurant fire under investigation

Fire investigators examine the remains of the Tan Turtle Restaurant in Northeast Harbor, which was destroyed in a fire late Friday night.
By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

NORTHEAST HARBOR, Maine — Fire investigators were unable to determine the cause of a fire that swept through a Main Street building late Friday night, destroying a popular seasonal restaurant.

Sgt. Tim York with the State Fire Marshal’s Office was in Northeast Harbor on Saturday sifting through the debris that was the Tan Turtle Restaurant, but he said the investigation is still ongoing.

“At this point, I don’t have any new information,” he said at the scene Saturday.

Firefighters from several Hancock County towns responded to the alarm sometime after 6 p.m. Friday after two nearby residents reported flames shooting from the two-story building. The firefighters had the blaze contained by 9 p.m. and kept the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings. There was little they could do, however, to save the Tan Turtle or an apartment above the restaurant, according to officials.

A construction crew closed Main Street on Saturday and spent several hours cleaning up charred debris from the site and salvaging whatever was left.

The restaurant had been closed for some time and no one was living in the upstairs apartment, building owner Rob DeGennaro told the Bangor Daily News on Friday, although he did say the restaurant was undergoing renovations.

DeGennaro also owns a restaurant in Fort Myers, Fla., and spoke to the BDN by phone from there Friday night.

The owner also said the apartment serves as a summer residence for his family and housed many belongings that were unrecoverable.

Friday’s fire was reminiscent of another blaze last July that destroyed three buildings on Main Street, just a few doors down from the Tan Turtle. That fire destroyed two art galleries and a restaurant, displaced several residents who lived in apartments above the buildings, and caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

Mark Reece and his wife, Stephanie, who owned the Colonel’s Bakery and Deli, are in the process of rebuilding and said in December they hoped to reopen by the end of June.

DeGennaro said Friday that the building is insured and that he plans to rebuild and make the restaurant better than ever.

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