BANGOR, Maine — Fire crews quickly knocked down a Market Street apartment fire Friday afternoon and rescued four cats and two rabbits from the building.
The residents in the four- or five-unit apartment building all escaped without injury, but two cats were killed in the blaze, according to Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Cyr.
“I heard someone running down the stairs screaming, ‘Get the heck out!’” said Kevin Peabody, 49, who moved into the apartment building on Feb. 1.
Ashley Ouellette, a resident of the building next door, was standing on a staircase to her second-floor apartment when she saw smoke and flames coming from the back of the second-floor apartment across the driveway.
Ouellette screamed to Chris Clark, who lives in the same building as Ouellette, and the two ran to the neighboring building and started banging on doors for people to get out, Ouellette and Clark said after firefighters had extinguished the blaze.
Residents inside the building began to evacuate, banging on doors and shouting to warn others along the way. One woman stood on the sidewalk without shoes because she didn’t have time to put them on before running out of the building.
Ian Hardie, 28, and a friend removed a door from its hinges on the first floor and used it as a makeshift ladder to reach a cat that had climbed onto a window ledge on the second floor.
Everyone was out of the building by the time firefighters arrived, but crews searched the building for people just to be sure, Cyr said.
Cyr said most of the fire damage was contained to the second floor at the back of the building. The heaviest damage was in the kitchen area, he said.
Cyr said no one would be able to stay in the apartments at the back of the building because fire, smoke and water damage made them uninhabitable. He wasn’t sure whether residents would be allowed into the apartments that were away from the blaze.
While searching the three-story building to ensure that no one was inside, fire personnel pulled six animals from the structure, including four cats and two rabbits.
One firefighter held a cat wrapped in a blanket while giving it oxygen. The cat was taken to a veterinarian by an animal control officer.
Fire crews began clearing the scene around 2:30 p.m.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office was expected to investigate the fire’s cause later Friday.