March 30, 2020
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Old Town fire destroys family’s belongings

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN

OLD TOWN, Maine — A weekend fire in Old Town destroyed most of the personal belongings of the young family living there.

The cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

Eric Whitman, who lived in one of the two apartments at 211 Water St. with his wife, Hope, and their two 5-year-old boys, said Monday that the family was in the process of relocating to a new home on French Island and was at the new residence when the fire struck Saturday evening.

The Water Street building, while still standing, was a total loss, according to Old Town police and fire officials. No one was injured in the blaze, but most of the family’s furniture, kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding and other belongings were destroyed, Whitman said.

Whitman said he was at the apartment about an hour before the fire was reported and had put some clothes into the dryer before heading back to French Island at about 5:30 p.m. to have dinner with his family. He said he believes the fire, which was reported at about 6:30 p.m., started in or near the dryer.

“I can’t imagine it starting anywhere else,” he said. “The most damage was in the laundry room.” Flammable products such as spray paint, dry gas and brake fluid were stored in a nearby cellar stairway, he said, and would have caused the fire to burn more intensely.

Detective Tom Adams of the Old Town Police Department, however, said the dryer had been ruled out as the source of the fire.

Samples have been sent to the state crime laboratory in Augusta to help investigators determine where and how the fire started, Adams said Monday evening.

The fire has not been labeled “suspicious,” he said.

Whitman and his wife are both students at the University of Maine and are unemployed, Eric Whitman said. Those who want to help the family may reach Whitman at 735-3970.


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