WALDOBORO, Maine — The identity of the person who died Friday morning in a Route 1 auto repair shop likely won’t be confirmed until next week, state fire investigators said Friday evening.
Waldoboro Fire Chief Paul Smeltzer confirmed just before noon Friday to the Lincoln County News that a body was found after the fire but the victim’s identity was not yet know.
On Friday evening, the state fire marshal’s office said that the body, which was recovered from the basement of Pinkham’s Auto Repair & Tires, was burned beyond recognition and taken to state medical examiner’s office in Augusta for autopsy and identification, which may not be completed until next week.
State fire investigators also said that the owner of the business, Jeff Pinkham, is missing. His truck was parked inside one of the building’s garage bays when the fire started, likely in the basement.
Earlier in the day, a number of area fire departments worked to contain a fire at Pinkham’s Auto Repair & Tires as the blaze damaged the building and a pickup parked inside it.
Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state fire marshal’s office said investigators had to wait to get inside the building. Clean Harbors had pumped contaminants out of the building’s basement, but the floor had caved in and an excavator was on its way to assist.
Smeltzer said heavy black smoke was showing when he first arrived at the scene at 1376 Atlantic Highway.
“The fire was initially hard to knock down because it was in the [work] pit below a cement floor,” Smeltzer said.
A GMC Sierra pickup parked over the pit received significant smoke and heat damage, Smeltzer said.
The fire spread up the side of the building into the office and up into the roof, Smeltzer said. Firefighters peeled sheets of siding off the building in their attempts to get at lingering flames.
The Waldoboro, Bremen, Jefferson, Nobleboro, Warren and Washington fire departments fought the fire, along with Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services. The Bristol Fire Department provided station coverage for Bremen and the Somerville Fire Department stood by at its station to provide coverage for Jefferson.
Lincoln County Communications paged the Waldoboro Fire Department at 5:07 a.m.
Bangor Daily News writer Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.