June 18, 2018
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Electrical problem blamed for MDI fire

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
State investigators stand Wednesday outside a home on Roberts Square in Bar Harbor that caught fire late Tuesday night. One man who escaped from the burning house after a local police officer propped up a ladder for him to use was treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation and a cut to his hand but later was released, according to the local fire chief. (Bangor Daily News/Bill Trotter)
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — State officials say that a fire that burned through a house on Roberts Square late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning was caused by an electrical problem.

Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Thursday that the origin of the fire was traced to a second-floor room of the house, located in one of Bar Harbor’s densely packed downtown neighborhoods.

Several people were in the house, which is used as seasonal employee housing for Testa’s Restaurant, when the fire was discovered shortly before midnight Tuesday. Some tenants got out on their own, but one man had to be rescued from the porch roof while another man escaped from his burning third-floor room when a police officer propped up a ladder to the man’s window.

The man later was treated for a cut to his arm and smoke inhalation at Mount Desert Island Hospital and then released, officials have said. One cat died in the blaze but another cat and a dog survived.

Tenants of the house lost all of their personal possessions except for what they had with them, according to restaurant and fire officials.

The house tenants, about 10 total, are being assisted by the Pine Tree Chapter of the Red Cross and have been put up at a nearby hotel. The restaurant, which employs approximately 40 people, is expected to close for the winter at the end of the month.

Tom Testa, owner of the restaurant and the damaged house, indicated in e-mails that the home is insured and that the Testa family is setting up an assistance fund for its affected employees.

“Donations may be made to the Testa’s Employee Recovery Fund c/o Union Trust Company, 43 Cottage St., Bar Harbor, ME 04609,” Testa wrote. “The Testa Family will match funds raised up to $10,000. The family has donated $5,000 to start the fund.”

Testa said many people already have offered assistance by donating everyday items to replace those that were destroyed in the flames.

“We would like to thank so many people for their outpouring of care and concern to [the affected employees],” Testa wrote. “There are so many people to thank: the Bar Harbor Fire and Police Departments for their quick response and handling of the fire; the Red Cross, Susie Seavey of the Aurora Motel for providing temporary accommodations and the numerous people who have donated clothing and personal items.”

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