3 homeless after fire at Augusta duplex

Posted Aug. 25, 2014, at 6:42 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — At least three people are homeless after a fire Monday afternoon heavily damaged the duplex they were living in.

The fire at 23 State St. began shortly before 2:45 p.m., Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette said. He said that smoke was billowing from the two-story wood frame building when fire crews arrived.

An investigation by the state fire marshal’s office determined that the fire was caused by overloaded electrical circuits, Audette said. He described the damage as “pretty significant.”

Audette said that no one was injured in connection with the fire, which proved challenging to extinguish because of the building’s balloon-frame construction. The construction style uses a continuous wood stud wall member that stretches from the foundation to the attic, providing no vertical fire stops.

Monday’s high temperatures also made for tough conditions for fire crews, he said.

Audette said the owner of the duplex, who lives across the street, indicated three people were living in the building. He said that the American Red Cross is assisting the displaced tenants.

Augusta firefighters were assisted by their counterparts from Gardiner, Togus, Chelsea and Winthrop, he said.

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