Furniture parts, finishing agents fuel blaze at Gorham cabinet shop

Posted March 25, 2014, at 10:30 a.m.
Last modified March 25, 2014, at 1:40 p.m.

GORHAM, Maine — A three-alarm fire Tuesday morning heavily damaged the upper floors of a building that houses a cabinet shop on Route 114 in Gorham.

The fire at Town & Country Cabinets at 420 Fort Hill Road was reported about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The blaze comes more than two decades after the lower floors at the same facility were heavily damaged by flooding as a result of a hurricane.

“A cabinet shop [has a significant] fire load — there’s lots of wood, lots of finishing agents and things that certainly aid in the spread of a fire,” Buxton Fire Chief Nathan Schools told reporters on the scene. “Fire, as we all know, spreads pretty rapidly as it is, and when it has those things like finishes and wood, it certainly helps the situation along.”

Fire crews from Gorham, Windham, Standish, Buxton and other neighboring communities were working to combat the blaze. Smoke continued to billow from several spots in the upper floor and roof of the building for several hours after the initial report.

No injuries were reported and no damage estimate was immediately available. However, serious smoke and fire damage to the upper floor was obvious.

“Everybody was out of the building when the fire department arrived,” Schools said. “There’s been no initial report from anybody that was in the building or an owner of the building on what the cause might be. There’s significant damage.”

A family business, Town & Country Cabinets has been owned and managed by Ronald and Grace Smith since 1976, and children David and Carol have been involved for 25 years and 10 years, respectively, according to the company website.

After starting the business in Portland, the Smiths in 1981 moved the cabinetry business to its current location in a former abandoned blueberry plant in Gorham.

Tuesday morning’s blaze was not the first time the Town & Country facility has faced heavy damage. In 1991, heavy rains from Hurricane Bob caused a nearby brook to overflow, flooding the building with 39 inches of water, according to the business website. As a result, the Smiths moved the structure to higher ground on the property as part of an expansion project the following year.

Town & Country Cabinets produces a Shaker line of furniture for online and catalog retailer Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, in addition to custom cabinetry, beds and other wood products.

Police rerouted traffic on a half-mile section of Route 114 near the fire scene Tuesday.