May 30, 2020
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Dexter restaurant damaged by blaze

DEXTER, Maine — A fire in the attic over the kitchen at TJ’s Restaurant caused minor damage to the restaurant on Friday.

Officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office were still on the scene Friday night investigating the cause of the 12:30 p.m. fire.

Dexter Fire Chief Barry Deering said flames were coming out through the eaves of the ell that contained the kitchen in the rear of the restaurant when firefighters arrived.

“There was a crawl space and they [firefighters] pulled that ladder down and they hit it [the fire] twice with water and we had it out,” Deering said Friday night. “It was a real good stop. It was right at that crucial time when it was getting ready to go.”

Deering said the fire was contained to the attic area and noted there was only minimal water damage to that section of the building. The restaurant, which is insured, is owned by Charles Malatesta of Sangerville and was being leased, but Deering did not know to whom.

Deering said a prep cook was in the kitchen preparing for Friday night’s meals when the fire was reported. The cook told firefighters he had opened the trapdoor to determine where a crackling sound was coming from when he discovered the fire. He immediately called 911.

“I think he saved the place. If somebody wasn’t there, it probably would have gotten more of a head start,” Deering said of the fire.

Dexter firefighters were assisted at the scene by Sangerville and Corinna firefighters.

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