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Old Town crews contain kitchen fire quickly on lieutenant’s final day on the job

Michael York | BDN
Michael York | BDN
Firefighters, including Old Town Fire Department Chief Steve O'Malley, clear the back stairwell of a home at 102 Stillwater Ave. in Old Town after the report of a fire Friday morning, June 15, 2012.
By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

OLD TOWN, Maine — Talk about a memorable last day on the job for Old Town Fire Lt. Mark Graffam.

The 28-year veteran, who is retiring after his shift Friday, responded to one last call Friday morning when a fire broke out in the kitchen of an apartment building on the corner of Stillwater Avenue and Veazie Street.

“There was a room full of smoke when we showed up, a good buildup of smoke coming out of the rear corner of the building,” Graffam said.

Crews were able to get in and knock the fire down in “less than five minutes,” Graffam said.

The building contains two apartments, and while two tenants were able to get out quickly, one woman had to be rescued from an upstairs unit, Graffam said.

“I went up and quickly kicked the door in to get the lady upstairs,” who seemed “very confused,” said Graffam.

The kitchen where the fire started saw heavy smoke damage, but crews were able to keep the smoke from spreading to the rest of the building, Graffam said. Orono and Milford firefighters assisted their Old Town counterparts.

“A handful of off-duty firefighters were here because they were getting ready to throw me a little luncheon so we had a very nice response with full trucks,” said Graffam.

No firefighters or tenants were injured in the fire, sending Graffam into retirement a happy man.

“It’s nice because no one got hurt,” he said. “This is how I’m going to end it.”

Graffam said there is no word yet on a cause. Old Town officials will continue to investigate the incident and interview the building’s tenants.

Correction: An early version of this story contained an incorrect photo caption. Pictured is Old Town Fire Department Chief Steve O'Malley, not Lt. Mark Graffam.

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