Blaze ravages Grange hall

Posted Oct. 11, 2009, at 9:31 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — A fire blazed through the old South Warren Grange Hall on Friday night, leaving it in ruins.

The Polebridge Road building was “fully involved” and part of it already had collapsed by about 10 p.m., when someone made a 911 call to report the fire, said Warren Fire Chief Edward Grinnell on Sunday.

“It was late being called in,” Grinnell said. “There are plenty of neighbors around, too. Evidently nobody noticed it.”

No one was inside the flaming, 2½-story wooden building that hasn’t been used as a working Grange hall in about 40 years, Grinnell said.

“It used to have full Grange activities going on there — from suppers to dances to regular meetings,” he said.

It was owned by Kenneth Gray of Warren, who apparently was in the process of selling it to Anna and Ed Duquette of Waldoboro, Grinnell said. The couple now use the Grange to restore old Volkswagen Beetles. Two cars inside the building and three outside all were “destroyed,” Grinnell said.

The cause of the fire was unknown, and an investigator from the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office plans to come Tuesday to check it out, he said.

“It’s going to be tough to find out, because there’s so much damage,” the chief said. “It was so far gone, we didn’t have much to save.”

About 20 volunteer firefighters from Warren worked for about 2½ hours to fight the fire and keep it from spreading. They were joined by about 30 firefighters from Thomaston, Union, Waldoboro and Rockport. No one was injured.

Because water in that part of Warren is low right now since the water tower has been drained for maintenance, mutual aid was called automatically, Grinnell said.

The chief said he thinks that the Duquettes may have insurance on the building, but he wasn’t sure.

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