BREWER, Maine — An investigation into a fire that heavily damaged a South Main Street apartment building early Tuesday morning did not reveal a cause, according to an official from the state fire marshal’s office.
That’s because the damage was too extensive, Sgt. Tim York said Tuesday.
The fire, which was reported about 12:30 a.m., displaced tenants of four of the six apartment units at 449 South Main St., but the exact number of tenants was not immediately available. Everyone who was home when the fire broke out got out safely, and those affected by the fire are being assisted by the Red Cross.
Randy Nye was one of the tenants who lost his home in the fire.
Nye said Tuesday afternoon that he was alerted to the fire by someone who saw it while passing by and stopped to kick on a neighbor’s door. He did not know the person’s name.
“There isn’t too many people in the world who would have stopped,” Nye said. “Everybody today is in such a hurry that they don’t stop to help anybody.”
Nye, 51, had been living in the Brewer apartment building for about a year. He said late Tuesday afternoon that he had yet to sleep since the fire and that he planned to stay at his mother’s home after a visit to his insurance agent’s office.
“Thank God I paid $9.10 a month on renters insurance because it’s the best thing I ever did in my life. Anybody who doesn’t get that is totally crazy,” said Nye, who said he used to be a volunteer firefighter in Corinna.
“I mean, I got stuff in there that I can’t replace, and I don’t know what I’m going to do because I’m a huge NASCAR fan and I had more memorabilia in there that is lost to me,” he said.
Before fleeing his apartment with just the clothes on his back, Nye managed to grab one of his most prized possessions — a driving helmet that once belonged to NASCAR great Geoff Bodine, who retired from racing in 2012 at the age of 63.
“I used to race at Unity Raceway, and that’s the first place I met him when I was in my early teens,” he said, adding that he had amassed a large collection of NASCAR-related items over a 22-year span.
Despite the loss, Nye remained somewhat upbeat about the situation.
“The way I look at it, we’ve all got our lives,” he said.
According to Brewer Deputy Fire Chief Ralph Cammack, the entire back side of the building was engulfed in flames when crews arrived about 12:30 a.m. He said the fire started in a back barn that was used for storage.
The blaze forced South Main Street, the main thoroughfare through the southern end of the city, to be closed for much of the morning. Firefighters from Brewer, Bangor, Eddington, Holden and Orrington went to the fire.
BDN writer Ryan McLaughlin contributed to this report.