February 25, 2018
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Woman suffers burns in fire at Holden apartment complex

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

HOLDEN, Maine — An elderly woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of burns she suffered Thursday afternoon when a fire began in her apartment on Upper Dedham Road.

Fire Chief Jim Ellis said the fire at Holden Square Apartments, a 24-unit housing complex for elderly and disabled residents, began shortly before 1 p.m. in the living room of the woman’s apartment, located on the second floor of the back side of the complex.

Information about the extent of the woman’s injuries was not available Thursday.

Ellis declined to release the woman’s name and age, referring those questions to investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office. A telephone call to investigators early Thursday evening was not immediately returned.

The fire was extinguished quickly and contained to the woman’s living room, Ellis said.

Residents, however, were not allowed to re-enter the complex for about 3½ hours because firefighters found almost half a dozen hand grenades on a window sill inside one of the apartments while searching the complex to make sure everyone inside escaped safely.

Ellis said that the Bangor Police Department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team was called in about 2 p.m. as a precaution. After examining the grenades and interviewing their owner, bomb squad members determined the devices were inert, he said.

Rosa Scarcelli, president of Stanford Management, which owns the complex, said no one was displaced because of the fire. She said the woman whose apartment was damaged will be moved into a vacant unit in the building. She credited firefighters’ quick response and planning for saving the building.

According to Ellis, firefighters several years ago developed an emergency plan for the building, which has no access to fire hydrants. He said the plan calls for drawing water from a nearby stream and that Assistant Fire Chief Ryan Davis and the department’s two live-in firefighting students “executed the plan perfectly” on Thursday.

He also said firefighters are very familiar with the complex because they visit it regularly to conduct blood pressure clinics.

Holden firefighters were assisted by members of the Eddington, Brewer, Orrington and Dedham fire departments, Ellis said.

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