ORIENT, Maine — Officials at the post office in Danforth said Tuesday they are not sure how long residents will have to drive to Danforth or Houlton to receive postal services after a fire destroyed a store that housed the Orient post office last week.
“Right now, the Orient postmaster is here and we are sharing what space we have,” Raelene Page, postmaster in Danforth, said Tuesday. “We are delivering the mail from here and offering all of our other services. We have not yet heard from the Postal Service how long this will continue or what the plans are for the future.”
Just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4, a fire broke out at Bartlett’s Country Store, which ended up depriving Orient residents of their post office, main general store and laundromat.
The U.S. Route 1 store sold gas, groceries and other goods to the town’s approximately 145 residents. Inside the store was a postal station with post office boxes.
The fire spread quickly despite the efforts of the Danforth Fire Department and firefighters from Hodgdon and Haynesville. Eric Young, assistant fire chief in Danforth, said officials believe the blaze may have started in the laundry area.
At least one customer was in the store at the time of the fire, Young said, as well as several employees.
Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday evening that investigators were not contacted to look into the incident.
Firefighters were on the scene for more than seven hours.
The building, owned by Mark Bartlett of Orient, was insured.
Page said Tuesday that Orient residents can buy postage stamps from carriers, but to mail packages or letters they will have to drive to another post office.