May 28, 2018
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Bar Harbor pier fire under investigation

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — A small fire last month at a pier restaurant on West Street is being investigated as arson, a state investigator said Tuesday.

The fire at Stewman’s Lobster Pound was reported around 10:30 p.m. on June 24, according to emergency dispatcher logs. Firefighters had the small fire, which had spread into an exterior wall, contained about 10 minutes later and cleared the scene around 11:30 p.m.

Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office on Tuesday confirmed that the fire is believed to be arson. He declined to release further details, saying that the case remained under investigation.

Eben Salvatore, operations director for Ocean Properties, said the restaurant had not yet opened for the season when the fire occurred. Someone staying at the nearby Harborside Hotel, also owned by Ocean Properties, spotted the flames and alerted the Fire Department.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Salvatore said. “[The Fire Department] had it knocked down almost as soon as it was reported.”

The fire started underneath an outdoor stairwell that leads to a deck on the pier, which was rebuilt this past spring, Salvatore said. It burned an area about 10 feet wide and an 8-foot section of wall, he said.

The wall and some wires inside it have since been repaired and the restaurant is open for business, he said. He said local police and investigators with the fire marshal’s office are working to find out who set the fire.

“It’s not funny. It’s not a joke,” Salvatore said of the fire and the damage it could have caused. “It’s incredibly serious.”

Ocean Properties is a privately owned firm that owns more than 100 hotel and resort properties in North America. The company has plans to construct a $12 million hotel on West Street across from Stewman’s.

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