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The Maine fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a vacant inn in Guilford early Saturday morning.
The Trebor Mansion Inn was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Guilford fire Chief Jeffrey Libby. The 19th-century building located on a hilltop just off Route 15 had been vacant for several years and was bank-owned.
Libby said a 911 call reporting the fire came in shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday. “It was already down when we got there,” Libby said Monday. “All we could do was park our trucks and keep it cool to protect the outlying structures from the building.”
The chief said no adjacent properties sustained any damage, and there were no injuries at the scene.
“It was definitely a five-alarm fire,” he said. “We had five departments and 50-plus firefighters there at one point.”
Libby said along with the Guilford Fire Department were crews from Sangerville, Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter and Monson, with Greenville being called but sent back before finishing the drive south. He said firefighters were on scene for about six hours Saturday morning.
The chief said he would learn the cause of the blaze when the fire marshal’s office is done with its investigation.
The Trebor Mansion Inn was built from 1830-32 by John Monroe, according to the inn’s website. The building served as an inn and home under various names for much of its history before being converted into a bed and breakfast in the late 20th century and then being restored by the Shaffer family from 2002-04.
On Jan. 24, 2004, the Trebor Mansion Inn suffered heavy damage in a fire, but the Shaffer family reopened two and a half years later. Family patriarch Robert Shaffer passed away in late October 2017.
The Guilford building was Shaffer’s seventh historic home restoration, according to his obituary.
“Robert and his adopted son Zarvin, after three years and $80,000 dollars of renovation, had to watch the firefighters from Sangerville, Monson, Dover-Foxcroft, Cambridge, Dexter and Sebec assist the Guilford Fire Department efforts to save their home.
“Most sane people would have collected the insurance, sold the devastated remains and left the scene of the disaster. But Robert was not at all like other people, sane or otherwise. He promptly hired local juveniles to chip away the eight inches of ice left by the fire hoses and began planning restoration,” his obituary reads.
This story was originally published in the Piscataquis Observer.