WATERVILLE — A party supply store on Sanger Avenue was damaged in a fire Wednesday night, and the fire chief said that an automated alarm system saved the building from being a total loss.

Firefighters were called to Are You Ready To Party? at 4 Sanger Ave. at 9:17 p.m. Wednesday after emergency services were alerted to a smoke alarm in the building.

“If we didn’t have an alarm warning in advance, I believe that the fire would have gotten a head start and we would have lost that building,” Fire Chief David LaFountain said Thursday morning.

According to LaFountain, the fire started in a car stored in the basement, believed to be a Saab, and spread. Another stored car, a red Mustang, was not damaged, he said.

Firefighters had to tear down some walls and cut holes in the first floor to get at the fire, LaFountain said. The 25 firefighters called to the scene were able to extinguish the blaze by 11:30 p.m.

The building sustained significant damage, but is structurally sound, LaFountain said.

Stacked folding chairs and tables and event tents stored in the basement were damaged in the fire. Equipment in the space leased to C.B. Davis sheet metal company was also damaged when firefighters moved it around when they were fighting the blaze, he said.

The fire was investigated to the point that its origin is not believed to be suspicious, LaFountain said.

“I’m satisfied it was accidental,” he noted.

Are You Ready To Party? was open Thursday morning, but owners Tom and Betty-Ann Davis said they weren’t sure whether the insurance company would allow them to keep the retail side of their business open in the near future. The building smelled heavily of smoke, and customers couldn’t buy candy that had been exposed.

The building’s electrical, heating and plumbing systems were damaged and need to be repaired, Tom Davis said.

Betty-Ann Davis estimated that the fire may have damaged up to $300,000 worth of merchandise.

The couple intend to keep the rental side of the business open, as tables, chairs and tents are stored in a warehouse on China Road in Winslow. Customers can still pick up the rentals at the Waterville location, they said.

Betty-Ann Davis said the fire alarm system made the difference between damage and a complete loss of the business,

“We must have been told that at least 25 times last night,” she said.

Tom Davis also credited the fast action of Waterville firefighters, who extinguished the blaze “extremely fast.”

“The compassion of every firefighter was unbelievable,” Tom Davis said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire


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