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MILBRIDGE, Maine — A fire of unknown origin destroyed a 16-room building Friday at the Red Barn Motel, according to officials. Another 14-room section of the motel was untouched and remains open for business.
The cause of the blaze has not been determined, according to Peter Sawyer, chief of the local volunteer fire department. But he said a painter had been working in one of the rooms Friday morning and may have had some sort of work lamp on inside the room. The painter was not in the building when someone saw the flames and called 911 around 10 a.m., he said.
Sawyer said he was at the fire station less than a mile away when the call came in and arrived at the scene within three or four minutes.
“Nobody was in the place,” he said.
Sawyer said approximately two dozen firefighters from Milbridge and three other neighboring towns — Cherryfield, Harrington and Steuben — responded to help fight the flames.
According to Kristen Nabarrete, whose family owns the motel, guests have stayed in the rooms this winter. Workers with Bangor Hydro and other utility companies had stayed in the two-story building, which overlooks the Narraguagus River, during the recent ice storm, she said.
Nabarrete said the building had been closed for several weeks while the rooms were being repainted and fixed up but that the motel’s other building, which has 14 rooms, remains open for business. She said they have been in touch with their insurance adjuster about the fire.
While fire crews were still spraying water on the smoking building, the roof of which had been destroyed, Nabarrete said she and her family plan to rebuild.
“I would hope to,” she said in the nearby motel office. “We’ll see how it goes at this point.”