OAKLAND — Combustibles placed too close to a portable electrical heater caused a fire early Sunday that damaged Tracy’s Tavern, a restaurant on Kennedy Memorial Drive, according to local and state fire officials.

The fire, reported at 12:30 a.m. at a two-story wood building, was ruled accidental, said Fire Chief David Coughlin and Tim York of the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

“The upstairs had moderate to heavy fire damage,” Coughlin said. “The lower level where the main part of the restaurant was had mostly just heat and smoke damage.”

About 30 firefighters from Oakland, Belgrade, Sidney, Rome and Smithfield responded to the fire, he said. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called to help determine the cause.

Tracy’s owner Jim Tracy, of Sidney, stood outside the building late Sunday morning, remembering all the hard work he and his family put into the business, which opened in November.

“It’s not good — not good at all,” he said. “It’s definitely rebuildable; it’s going to take a lot of elbow grease.”

Tracy’s son, Bob, the head cook and kitchen manager, said the second floor had a pool table, two couches, a large screen television, tables and chairs. He lived in a room on the second floor, where the portable heater was located, according to Coughlin.

The fire broke out after the business had closed late Saturday.

“The fire started in my room,” Bob Tracy said. “I was downstairs and I heard a smoke alarm and went up. I walked in my room and it was all burning. I just ran out and called 911.”

Jim Tracy said he leases space in the building for the business from Dennis Morneau of Smithfield.

“The kitchen is still intact, 100 percent,” Jim Tracy said. “The bar area is just dirty. The food is a total loss — and pictures, TVs, pool table.”

He said the business is insured; Coughlin said the building owner also was insured.

“The business has been growing and going very well,” Jim Tracy said. “This is Oakland’s newest place to come, for a birthday party, get-together or just dinner.”

He said the business — which is really a restaurant, not a bar — employs seven people. He and his wife both work full time outside the tavern and worked seven days a week to get the business up and running for their son, who loves to cook, he said.

Coughlin said that initially, the fire was difficult to fight because the building was full of smoke and firefighters had a challenging time finding the room with the portable heater. They ultimately accessed the area through a second-story window, he said.

Central Maine Power Co. arrived to cut off power to the business, police closed off Kennedy Memorial Drive because hydrants were being used there and a Delta Ambulance crew stood by at the scene, Coughlin said. No one was injured, he said.

Firefighters cleared the scene around 3 a.m., but one firefighter stayed during the night, according to Coughlin. Local and state fire officials arrived later Sunday morning and left just before 1:30 p.m.

Tracy’s Tavern is located at 835 Kennedy Memorial Drive, on the corner of Pine Acres Drive, west of Ray Haskell Ford.


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