WATERVILLE — State and local fire officials are prohibiting tenants from returning to an apartment building where a fire Sunday is believed to have intentionally set.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said Wednesday the department is working on it, but there are no leads or suspects.

The fire at 11 Elm Court was reported at 5:44 p.m. Sunday and started in Apartment 3, a vacant second-story apartment, according to fire officials.

The fire was contained to the one apartment and caused moderate damage to the floor, a wall and ceiling.

Fire Chief David LaFountain said he and state fire officials, as well as the city’s code enforcement officer, Garth Collins, toured the building Tuesday and found it unfit for human occupancy.

Violations included hallways that are too narrow, windows that are too small and inadequate exits, LaFountain said.

“We had decks that you couldn’t stand on because they weren’t safe — they would collapse,” he said. “We all agreed at the end of the inspection that the building was so far out of code compliance that we would vacate the building.”

The owners also toured the building, he said.

“The owners are very cooperative and they want to do the right thing — they want to fix it up and make it safe,” he said.

No one answered the phone Wednesday afternoon at Parent Management LLC, of Brewer, which owns the building.

Anyone who goes into the building is subject to arrest, LaFountain said.

Fire Lt. Shawn Esler, who supervised the fire crew Sunday, said firefighters responded quickly and saved the building from potential disaster.

Esler said about 10 people lived in the building and the American Red Cross helped them find places to stay Sunday night.

LaFountain said the building has six apartments. Hamsters, birds, dogs and cats also were displaced after the fire, he said.

He said he notified the city’s general assistance office that some tenants may come in to ask for help if they do not qualify for other assistance.

According to the city assessor’s database, the building is assessed at $98,700 and the land at $9,000.

On Wednesday morning, the large apartment building was cordoned off with yellow tape. Elm Court is a short street off Elm Street, just south of Domino’s Pizza.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]


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