SKOWHEGAN — Crews from several area towns fought a structure fire Tuesday evening at an apartment building at 11 Main St., where U.S. Route 2 meets U.S. Route 201 at the entrance to downtown.
Flames could be seen coming from second-floor windows at the house opposite Southside Taveran as firefighters converged on the scene. The structure was described as an apartment building in an emergency dispatch shortly after 5 p.m.
At the scene, officials said there were six apartments in the three-story building and that all tenants had made it out. Fire raged in the top two stories of the building as aerial-ladder firetrucks from Skowhegan and Fairfield trained water on the flames shooting out of the windows.
The fire also resulted in power being cut to some 1,855 customers in the Skowhegan, Fairfield and Norridgewock area, according to Central Maine Power Co. Nearby Redington-Fairview hospital in Skowhegan was put on auxiliary power, officials said.
Power was also knocked out to most of downtown Skowhegan from the rotary at the former Candlelight Restaurant, where there was a police roadblock, to past the municipal building on Water Street.
Firefighters from Fairfield, Waterville, Cornville, Norridgewock and Winslow responded to fight the blaze as well. Huge black billows of smoke could be seen just after 5 p.m., with flames showing out of the second-story windows soon afterward. At one point, all of the firetrucks at the scene sounded their emergency horns announcing evacuation of the three-story building.
“We evacuated, hit it from the outside, knocked it down, Now we’re going back in,” Skowhegan Fire Chief Shawn Howard said at the scene, barking orders to the many firefighters working closely in teams to re-enter the building.
Workers at Al’s Pizza on Waterville Road were offering food and drinks to first responders, according to a Facebook post.
Two residents of the apartment huddled outside, one without a coat, the other worried about her cat that she thought still might be inside.
Jaye-Lynn Foster, who lives on the third floor of the apartment house, said she alerted the others to the fire.
“I let everybody know that there was a fire,” Foster said. “I just told everybody that they needed to be aware that there was a fire in the building and that they had to get out. I want my cat. I want my animals.”
No children were living in the building, which abuts property on West Front Street, U.S. Route 2, where a building burned a couple of months ago next to Lyons electronics.
Howard, the fire chief, said it was too early Tuesday night to say where the fire started in the building or what caused the blaze.
Officials closed down U.S. Route 2 in both directions as crews battled the blaze.
Doug Harlow — 612-2367