AUGUSTA — A fire Thursday evening forced 14 of people from their apartments at 62 Washington St. and sent some firefighters to the hospital with heat problems.

Electricity was restored to the area of Sand Hill near Cumberland and Washington streets at 8:30 p.m., about two hours after the fire was reported.

Augusta Fire Department Lt. Sean Goodwin said initially there was some thought it might have been caused by lightning, but the cause remains under investigation.

Goodwin said he understood that tenants were able to escape the building. He said he was unsure of the number of firefighters taken by Augusta Rescue and Delta Ambulance to MaineGeneral Medical Center for problems related to fighting the fire in hot, humid conditions.

“We had a clap of thunder and lightning, and shortly after that, while I was watching wrap-up of the Red Sox, I saw a rescue truck and heard sirens and looked out,” said Dominique Douin, who lives across the street, at 61 Washington St. “The whole front of the building was in flames.”

He said firefighters quickly contained the blaze. “They did a great job, as far as I was concerned. They took care of business the way it should be taken care of.”

Douin said the fire burned from the front to the middle of the building, but the back of it appeared less damaged.

He said the occupants, including children, were evacuated, but he saw a cat that appeared to be dead in the driveway.

“They responded so quickly, and they wet down the house that was close on the north side,” Douin said.

Records at the city assessor’s office show the long, narrow, two-story building was erected in 1816 and contains six apartments. The current owner is listed as Steven J. Williams Trustee.

Chelsea, Hallowell and Togus fire departments assisted at the scene, and Vassalboro firefighters staffed the city’s east side fire station.

Betty Adams — 621-5631
[email protected]