February 17, 2020
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Fire that heavily damaged vacant Wiscasset apartment building likely started in basement

WISCASSET, Maine — A fire that destroyed much of a vacant apartment building in Wiscasset Tuesday night has been ruled accidental.

The fire at 807 Gardiner Road, also known as Route 27, apparently started in the basement — “Possibly near a large number of electrical conductors,” Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state fire marshal’s office said Wednesday.

Firefighters arrived at the four-unit building just before 10 p.m. to find the fire had already vented up through the roof, Wiscasset Assistant Fire Chief Nick Merry said Wednesday.

About 35 firefighters from Wiscasset, Edgecomb, Alna, Westport Island, Woolwich, Dresden and Newcastle knocked down the blaze within 45 minutes to an hour, according to Merry.

“The fire had a pretty good head start on us,” he said. “The roof was shingles and then a metal roof on top, so we had a hard time getting through.”

The main portion of the 1900s-era Cape Cod-style home was destroyed, but much of the addition was saved.

The fire was reported by the building’s owners, who live next door. Their names were not available Wednesday morning.

While the cause of the fire has not been determined, Merry said investigators suspect it was electrical.

Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

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