LINCOLN, Maine — The exterior walls are up and the doorways are cut. Roofing is being hammered down and shingling is already on the rear of the new building, but most important to the rebuilding of the Lincoln News’ headquarters, Bill Heartland says, are the snow-free skies.
“It’s been a little cold, day to day,” Heartland, owner of Heartland Building, of Bradley, said Friday. “We have had some compressors freeze, but we are really in a race with the snow. The hardest part of the job has been the shoveling. So long as it doesn’t snow more, we will be all right and on time.”
News officials took out a permit to begin rebuilding at 78 West Broadway on Nov. 24 and, according to the paperwork filed, they estimated that the 5,000-square-foot building would cost $140,000, town Economic Development Director Ruth Birtz said.
“It’s nice to see it being rebuilt,” Birtz said Friday. “The News and its staff have done a wonderful job keeping the newspaper going despite everything that they have been through.”
Reported at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4, the fire that destroyed the Lincoln News building at 78 West Broadway appeared to have started in the rear of the building, near the newspaper’s presses, and swept rapidly forward to the building’s roof peak and front office before firefighters from four towns could knock it down.
The last people to leave the building at about 5:25 p.m. told investigators that they saw nothing suspicious. No one was in the building when the fire was reported or hurt fighting the flames. The building was insured.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has logged the fire’s cause as undetermined, with investigators saying that the debris from the fire made establishing its origin impossible. The newspaper’s temporary offices are at 70 West Broadway.
Heartland estimates that, weather permitting, the exterior of the building will take another two weeks or so to finish. Interior work will start soon after, with the News reopening in its new building in April. The seven-person construction team began building about two weeks ago, he said.
“I’m really proud of how this is going,” Heartland said. “This is a really quick and easy job. It’s big — most of our typical jobs are 2,400 to 2,800 square feet — but it’s so open that it’s pretty easy to work on. This building will be 10 times better than the old one.”
Editor and publisher Kevin Tenggren did not immediately return a message left at his office Friday.