WATERVILLE – Eight people, including several children, are homeless after fire ripped through their 8 King St. apartment building in the city’s South End early today.

The fire, reported at 12:03 a.m., is believed to have started in a clothes dryer, according to Fire Chief David LaFountain.

“We believe it started as a dryer fire in the back of the house,” LaFountain said. “When we got there, there was heavy fire at the back of the house.”

The building has two apartments, and all of the tenants are from the same family, LaFountain said. He said some escaped wearing only their underwear.

“There were  multigenerations last night, trying to keep warm,” he said. “There were several small children of varying ages — some small enough to require an infant seat for a car.”

The family that was displaced has relatives in Unity, where they went to stay, he said.

King Street is off Water Street and connects with Gold Street.

About 40 firefighters from Waterville and Winslow battled the fire in frigid temperatures, clearing the scene at 4:16 a.m..

“The cold temperatures are an issue,” LaFountain said. “We have to make sure we don’t shut nozzles down all the way; they freeze up.”

A state fire investigator is expected to be at the scene around noon, according to LaFountain.


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