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4/30/2014 2:00:00 PM
Fire Damages Wiscasset House

By Sherwood Olin and Kathy Onorato

A structure fire in Wiscasset April 29 called out area fire departments and blocked Route 27 for several hours as firefighters battled to get the blaze under control. As late as 11 p.m., thick, gray smoke could be observed pouring from the building, located at 807 Gardiner Rd.

The structure fire on Gardiner Road/Route 27 April 29 drew a heavy turnout. Departments from six area towns including Wiscasset, Alna, Edgecomb, 

Dresden, Woolwich, Westport Island, and Newcastle responded. (Sherwood Olin photo)
The structure fire on Gardiner Road/Route 27 April 29 drew a heavy turnout. Departments from six area towns including Wiscasset, Alna, Edgecomb, Dresden, Woolwich, Westport Island, and Newcastle responded. (Sherwood Olin photo)
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A neighbor, Jeff Howard, said he observed flames shooting higher than the peak of the roof shortly after he arrived home around 9 p.m. Howard said he called 911 to report the fire and was told several people had already called.

"It was going pretty good," he said. "It was unreal. The smoke was just hanging down."

Howard and a friend on scene agreed the Wiscasset Fire Department began arriving on the scene quickly, followed rapidly by other mutual aid units.

Wiscasset Fire Chief T.J. Merry said about 25 to 30 firefighters assisted at the scene.

"Everyone worked well and safe," Merry said. "We had great support for that time of night, I was very pleased with that."

Because the building was vacant, Merry said the crew's effort was to save as much of the building as possible. "It wasn't a high-stress call," he said.

With no one inside, "we didn't have to risk a lot," Merry said.

The Alna, Dresden, Edgecomb, Newcastle, Westport Island, and Woolwich fire departments assisted the Wiscasset Fire Department at the scene. Merry said crews remained on the scene until 1:45 a.m. April 30.

Howard, the neighbor, said the building was divided into apartments but to his knowledge, no one lived at the location. Howard said he believed the owner was renovating the building.

"They just put a metal roof on it last summer," he said.

John McLaren Sr. owns the building, according to Merry. McLaren's son, John McLaren Jr., lives in a separate building on the same property and was the first to report the fire.

The State Fire Marshal's Office will investigate the fire and was expected to be on the scene Wednesday, April 30, Merry said.




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