Orono fire blamed on electrical problem

Posted June 11, 2009, at 2:30 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Investigators say a fire that destroyed a nearly 180-year-old apartment building in downtown Orono was caused by an electrical problem in the building’s wiring.

The state fire marshal’s office ruled Thursday that the fire was accidental and that it started in an electrical outlet in a wall of a first-floor apartment before spreading throughout the brick building.

No injuries were reported in Tuesday’s fire, which displaced 26 tenants.

The Katahdin Building, as it was known, had previously housed a tavern, Orono’s first public library, a bank and offices. The building and an addition were later converted into 18 apartment units, many of which were occupied by University of Maine students.