June 21, 2018
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Investigators ‘reasonably sure’ no one died in Gardiner fire

Anthony Ronzio | BDN
Anthony Ronzio | BDN
Firefighters battle a blaze on Thursday in Gardiner. The fire destroyed the building at 235 Water St. and three attached buildings.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff
Updated:

GARDINER, Maine — Four days after fire tore through four Water Street buildings, investigators still have not accounted for five of the 12 tenants displaced by the blaze.

Gardiner Fire Chief Al Smith said Monday afternoon that officials have still not heard from Kerry Davis or Sean Smith, whose apartments were in the section of 235 Water St. where the roof collapsed.

But the fire chief said officials are “reasonably sure” the men were not in the building at the time the roof collapsed.

“There is no indication they were home at the time” he said Monday. “Why they haven’t contacted anyone is anyone’s guess.”

Three other tenants, Daren Jones, Robert Gagnon and Lisa Moore, also have not contacted authorities, although they have reportedly been seen in Gardiner since the fire.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of any of the five tenants is urged to call 624-7076.

The state fire marshal’s office continues to investigate the cause of the fire, which started about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

About 100 firefighters from a dozen surrounding communities stopped the fire, but not before it gutted the century-old building at 235 Water St. and heavily damaged three adjacent buildings, all of which were attached.

Three firefighters and a civilian suffered minor injuries and were treated and released from local hospitals.

The building at 235 Water St. was razed by an excavation company that “very meticulously” went through the debris looking for clues and, possibly, human remains. That process is largely complete.

“At this point, we’re as sure as we can be” that no one perished in the blaze, Gardiner’s fire chief said.

Cash donations in support of the fire victims can be mailed to the Kennebec Valley United Way (with “Gardiner fire” in the memo), 121 Commercial St., Augusta, ME 04330, or through the website gofundme.com/downtownfire.

BDN staff writer Christopher Cousins contributed to this story.

 


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