Tag Archives: Maine

Farmington, ME – Malfunctioning ceiling fan fire put out by sprinkler system at rehabilitation & living center

A fire at Edgewood Rehabilitation & Living Center displaced more than three dozen residents and employees Sunday afternoon, according to the Farmington Fire Department.

Fire Chief Terry Bell said the fire, reported at about noon, was likely caused by a malfunctioning ceiling fan in one of the living center’s bathrooms.

Bell said more than 40 people were evacuated from the building at 228 Fairbanks Road. They were taken to Mt. Blue High School, also in Farmington.

The Franklin County Regional Communications Center posted on its Facebook page that staff from Edgewood, Northstar Ambulance, Regional School Unit 9 and several fire departments had set up at Mt. Blue High School to provide care for the Edgewood residents.

The fire was knocked down at about 1 p.m., according to Bell.

“The sprinkler system did its job and put most of the fire out,” he said. “Unfortunately, there was a good amount of damage to the building, from the fire and the water used to put it out.”

Augusta, ME – Third-floor apartment fire mitigated by sprinkler system; No injuries reported

Fire Chief Roger Audette said the quick response from city firefighters — and an operational sprinkler and alarm system — subdued a potentially dangerous fire downtown on Monday.

The fire at 227 Water St. was reported by an alarm around 4:40 p.m. Monday. Firefighters closed down a portion of Water Street until about 5:45 p.m.

There was heavy smoke on the third floor, Audette said, but it was not visible from the street.

He said the fire started in a third-floor apartment’s closet after rags, coated with a combination of wood stain and polyurethane used to finish hardwood flooring, “spontaneously combusted” because they were not disposed of properly.

Audette said the fire was not suspicious.

“It was in a bad spot,” he said. “It could have gone up into the attic, (where it would have been more difficult to fight).”

Audette said a sprinkler head in the closet kept the fire down until crews could extinguish it completely. He said there was “quite a bit of damage” to the building, as well as water damage to some electrical systems.

No one was hurt in the fire.

The building, which contains Guerrette Properties and other businesses, is owned by Smithtown Four LLC, according to city tax records. Representatives from Guerrette Properties did not return a request for comment by presstime.

Crews from Gardiner, Chelsea and Hallowell offered station coverage while Augusta crews were on the scene.

Code Enforcement Officer Keegan Ballard said the city uses the National Fire Protection Agency Life Safety Code, as recommended by the state fire marshal’s office. He said the code does not require sprinklers in buildings explicitly. Ballard said fire protection standards for buildings are done on a case-by-case basis.

“New mixed-use occupancies are required to have a sprinkler or fire separation,” he said. “It really depends on the use (of the building) or if the floors above are utilized.”

Ballard said the city relies on separation between residential buildings to mitigate the risk of large fires engulfing multiple structures. In a downtown area where buildings are connected, he said, fire safety protocols are much more important.

“It’s absolutely very important,” Ballard said of using the standards. “In a downtown where there’s no separation, it’s crucial … to buying time for emergency services to get there.”

Westbrook, ME – Sprinkler system keeps apartment fire from spreading

Crews are still investigating to find a cause of a fire in Westbrook. It happened on Bridge Street last Tuesday afternoon. Bridge Street is back open, and a few officials are on scene working with residents that are now displaced from the fire. Westbrook Fire Chief Andy Turcotte says they received the call of a fire outside of an apartment building. Chief Turcotte says it started on the second floor, making its way to the third-floor deck, and then extending to inside of the structure. Fortunately, all occupants made it out safely, and firefighters were able to knock it down fairly quickly.

Chief Turcotte says that’s all thanks to the sprinkler system inside the building that was able to get ahead of the fire before it spread any further. Fortunately, the weather was in our favor,” Turcotte said. “It’s not -32, where we had issues with water freezing. And it was perfect day our staffing as perfect we had good neighboring response. And again, this was an example of how sprinklers worked in our favor.

While there are no injuries, the chief says all residents in the building will be displaced for at least Tuesday night because of the water damage that made its way to the first floor. They’re working with Red Cross right now to make sure everyone has a place to stay. There is no word yet on the cause we’ll have more details as we receive them.

Boothbay Harbor, ME – Sprinkler system assists firefighters in controlling overnight restaurant fire

Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay and Southport fire departments responded to a sprinkler alarm and a call about smoke coming from the back of the House of Pizza in the Meadow Mall on Rt. 27/Townsend Avenue at 3:25 a.m. <Tuesday> morning.  Boothbay Harbor Fire Chief Nick Upham said that when crews arrived, sprinklers were active, a fire was forming on the back wall and smoke was filling the restaurant. Upham said the cause of the fire was undoubtedly electrical, with damage resulting to the back wall and water damage throughout.  A clean-up crew has been working this morning at the restaurant and it is uncertain when the restaurant will open again.  This story will be updated.

Westbrook, ME – Automatic sprinkler system extinguishes apartment kitchen fire; No injuries reported

A cooking fire in a Westbrook apartment building displaced 16 people on Friday morning, but no one was injured.  Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said the fire on Walker Street started in a second-floor kitchen just before 9 a.m. The heat triggered the sprinkler system in that unit, so the flames had been extinguished when Westbrook fire crews arrived on scene.  “The sprinkler system did its job,” Turcotte said.

Still, the incident caused fire and smoke damage to the three-unit building, which Turcotte said is owned by Avesta Housing. The Red Cross of Maine said it is working with three families to ensure they have food, a safe place to sleep and access to services. A spokesperson for the affordable housing developer did not immediately return a request for comment Friday afternoon.

Turcotte pointed to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, saying that nearly 100,000 apartment fires take place every year. Sprinkler systems like the one triggered Friday have been proven to reduce the rates of injury or death in those fires, he said.  “These fire protection systems save lives,” the fire chief said.

Bath, ME – Sprinkler system activated at apartment building for elderly and disabled

Residents escaped safely from Seacliff Apartments, which provides housing for the elderly and disabled, when a fire broke out at one of the apartments at 47 Floral St. Sunday morning.

The fire was reported at 10:17 a.m. and drew firefighters from multiple communities. The building is owned by Bath Housing.

“The guys made a tremendous stop,” said Bath Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud.

The six-member crew on duty was able to extinguish the flames and upward of 50 firefighters quickly responded from Bath and the neighboring towns including Brunswick, West Bath, Woolwich, Phippsburg and Topsham.

The building houses 36 single bedroom apartment units and four two-bedroom apartments, according to the Bath Housing Authority’s website.

Given the time of the day and type of structure, there was concern the tenant was inside the apartment when the fire broke out, but Renaud said the person was located elsewhere.

“The sprinkler system in the hallways did activate so I think that was in our favor as well,” Renaud said. “I can’t advocate enough about sprinkler systems. They do save property and lives.”

A second floor apartment had a window open above the ground-floor apartment where flames were shooting from the window, causing smoke damage.

For the most part, there doesn’t seem to be any structural damage to the second floor, Renaud said. There are at least six units with water damage on the first floor and two with smoke damage on the second floor that are uninhabitable. The cause and origin of the fire haven’t been determined.

“It’s a coordinated effort,” he said.The American Red Cross was called to assist residents who may have been displaced by the fire. Bath Housing staff also responded because they know the building and their clientele.

Portland, ME – Sprinkler system helps contain fire at YMCA serving as temporary housing

Fire officials in Maine are investigating a fire at the Portland YMCA that temporarily affected 31 men living there as part of a housing support program.  The Portland Press Herald reports crews responded to the Portland YMCA around 4 p.m. Thursday. Assistant Fire Chief Keith Gautreau said a sprinkler system helped contain the small fire.  No injuries were reported.

According to a YMCA statement, the 31 residents are living in the dormitory through a housing support program called GROW. YMCA officials say the program provides temporary shelter for men moving into stable housing from homelessness.

YMCA of Southern Maine CEO Helen Brena said the Red Cross was quick to offer help for any residents who may have been displaced by the fire, but that after a cleanup effort Thursday night, the residents were able to return to stay there.

Auburn, ME – No one hurt as sprinkler system helps control apartment fire

Two families were displaced by a fire that damaged two units at the Auburn Mall Apartments at 75 University St. late Saturday afternoon.

The Auburn Fire Department said the 5 p.m. fire started on a kitchen stove in one of the units at the 12-unit building.

No one was hurt.

It took the department about 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

Portland, ME – Sprinkler system activates to help control restaurant fire

The Portland Fire Department says a fire broke out at the 576 Congress Street location of the pizza chain, Otto’s, on Sunday, August 20.  Crews arrived on scene around 10 a.m. after an oven fire spread into the duct work. The building’s sprinkler system went off but the restaurant has smoke and water damage.  Congress Street was shut down for an hour on Sunday but reopened by 11:00 a.m.  eputy Chief Terry Walsh expects that Otto’s will remain closed for an unknown amount of time.

Gardiner, ME – Fire Chief credits sprinkler system with saving lives and property in apartment blaze

Gardiner Fire Chief Al Nelson said a working sprinkler system extinguished an early morning fire on Water Street in Gardiner and saved both lives and property. Nelson said firefighters went to the building on the northwest corner of Water Street and Maine Avenue shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, following notification from a security company.

“They could see light smoke coming from behind a door,” he said. When they opened the second-floor apartment door, they saw a fire on the stove, and that’s when the building’s sprinkler system activated and put out the fire. It’s also when the tenants in the apartment woke up and came to see what was happening, Nelson said.

“The sprinkler system saved lives. It did its job,” Nelson said. “The stove is ruined, but that’s easy (to replace).”

The site of this fire is only a couple hundred feet from the site of a July 2015 fire that destroyed 235 Water St. and it damaged buildings on either side of it.

“At the press conference after the 2015 debacle, I said had that building had a sprinkler system, there would have been no press conference,” he said.

Nearly eight months before the 2015 fire, Royce Watson bought the building where the fire occurred Tuesday.

“It was a distressed property,” Watson said, “and it had a fairly good price, so that enabled me to update the sprinkler and fire alarm systems.”

The building has four retail units on the ground floor and eight apartments on the upper two floors.

Because the building already had a sprinkler system, he said, he had to either make it operational or remove it. He opted to fix it.

The apartment where the fire broke out sustained some smoke damage and the stove will have to be replaced, he said.

Watson, whose company, Wilcris LLC, owns other rental properties in the region, said the water from the sprinkler went into the unit below — his office — soaking his computer and some paperwork and bills on his desk.

While he said tenants share the responsibility for safety, he said he’s glad the system saved the building and that everyone is OK.

“I can’t thank him enough for his efforts on the sprinkler system,” Nelson said. “That saved the block.”