BRADLEY, Maine — Clear thinking and quick reaction prevented Claudia’s Seafood from suffering major fire damage after hot grease from a deep fryer caught a nearby wall on fire Monday afternoon.
“It could’ve turned out to be a lot worse, but I want to say the owners of the building did a great job putting it out with water and a fire extinguisher,” said Bradley Fire Chief Eric Gifford. “That’s one of the quickest fire calls I’ve ever been involved with,” Gifford added. “We had it out within five minutes of arriving on scene. We didn’t even squirt any water on it.”
The market is located on Route 178 at 703 Main St.
Rachel Phair, the daughter of market owner Claudia Phair, discovered the fire and alerted her mother. Claudia Phair’s son Robert F. Dubois, who lives in an upstairs apartment, and his father, Robert L. Dubois, used a fire extinguisher to quickly smother the wall fire and threw water on the floor to prevent the fire from spreading.
“We’re not really sure exactly what happened,” said Claudia Phair, who has operated the market for 9½ years. “We have a lot of cleanup and repair to to do, but if we hadn’t been so quick acting, it could have been worse.”
Phair said she lost her fryolator and possibly a grill, and her kitchen fire suppression system may need to be replaced. Also, firefighters had to take part of the wall down as well as cut into the upstairs apartment wall to make sure the fire didn’t spread.
“There’s quite a bit of smoke damage in the fish market,” she said. “We won’t be open for takeout or dining in, but we will be open for seafood pickup and we hope to have takeout up and running in a couple days.”
Bradley firefighters responded immediately after the fire call came in at 5:18 p.m. Tanker trucks from Eddington and Milford also responded along with an engine from Old Town.
“We had 15 people from Bradley, but we really didn’t need nearly that many,” Gifford said. “They had working smoke detectors and Bangor Hydro quickly shut the power off to the nearby poles, which was very helpful.”
Phair said she and her family were hard at work cleaning up the damage, and they were getting lots of help from friends and neighbors.
“A lot of people are helping out,” she said. “It’ll probably be a long night, but we’ll get it done.”