CAMDEN, Maine — A team of State Fire Marshal Office investigators sifted through ashes in hopes of determining the cause of a fire that ripped through the Bay View Landing construction project Tuesday evening.
Fire Chief Christopher Farley said five investigators were dispatched to the town’s waterfront early Christmas Eve day.
“They expect to be here most of the day, and if they don’t find what they are looking for, they will be back on Friday,” Farley said.
The fast-moving fire destroyed a building that was under construction to house a restaurant and inn. The wood-frame structure was located adjacent to the town landing, in the center of the downtown business district.
Owned by local businessman Stuart Smith, the Bay View Landing project had been under construction for about three months. It was to house a 150-seat restaurant on the first floor and a 10-room inn on the second. Farley said the building was insured and that Smith indicated to him that he intended to begin rebuilding as soon as possible.
The fire was reported by a number of passers-by shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday. Farley said firefighters were at the scene within minutes. He added that aid was provided by fire units from Rockland, Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope.
“Everybody worked well together and they all did a great job,” he said.
Because the building was still under construction it was basically a shell, and the fire spread rapidly throughout the structure. Part of the roof collapsed, and steel beams were twisted by heat.
Farley said that the last construction workers had left the building at approximately 5 p.m. and that the fire was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene. He said the main task was to keep the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. He said firefighters had the fire in that section of the building under control within half an hour. The blaze was extinguished in about two hours, he said.
Farley said hose lines were extended from hydrants on the Village Green, Bay View Street and the Public Landing. Firetrucks surrounded the three sides of the building accessible by land and poured a steady stream of water onto the fire, he said.
Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Nims said the building permit issued for the building set its value at $600,000.