WATERVILLE — A firefighter and six other people were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning during an apartment fire on Summer Street that drew a large emergency response and that occurred in a building where batteries had been removed from the smoke detectors.

The fire at 15 Summer St. was reported shortly after 5 a.m. Wednesday, and crews were continuing to battle the blaze many hours later as snow fell across the region and the temperature lingered in the low teens.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they rescued two of the building’s tenants who were on the porch roof because they were not able to escape through the exits. Four other people in the building got out on their own, and six were taken to the hospital suffering from light smoke inhalation, according to Waterville fire Captain John Gromek. One was transferred later to a hospital in Massachusetts because of asthma problems caused by the smoke inhalation. Two people refused treatment, he said.

Waterville firefighter Dan Brown suffered a dislocated shoulder when a ceiling collapsed and trapped him, according to Gromek, who was at the scene. A crew from the Skowhegan Fire Department’s Rapid Intervention Team went in and rescued him.

“He was conscious and just in a lot of pain,” Gromek said. Just after 3 p.m., he said Brown had been released from the hospital and was resting at home.

Brown’s wife, Amanda, said in a phone call just after 4:30 p.m. that her husband was “doing exceptionally well” and will follow up with his doctor, and imaging tests will be done. The whole ceiling and possibly part of the second floor fell on top of him during the fire and he could not feel his body, she said.

“He is truly thankful for all the Waterville firefighters who were trying to dig him out, and the Skowhegan Fire Department did go in — the RIT Team — and carried him out,” she said. “I’m just thankful they have that team. I am truly thankful for everyone in that fire.”

Other firefighters suffered bumps and bruises and one suffered physical fatigue, according to Gromek. Besides having difficulty getting into the building because of so much fire, firefighters had to deal with the cold and icy conditions.

There were smoke detectors in the building, but the batteries had been removed, Gromek said.

The apartment building has been owned by Deborah Butler since 2004, according to city assessor records. Butler and her husband, Francis, live on the first floor of the building but were in New Mexico on Wednesday, according to neighbors and fire officials. The Butlers could not be reached immediately for comment.

The building was built in 1920 and is on a 0.3-acre site, according to Zillow, an online listing service.

Four officials from the state fire marshal’s office, including Sgt. Ken Grimes, were at the scene Wednesday to try to help determine the cause of the fire but were not able to go inside until the fire was suppressed.

Grimes said just before 4 p.m. that state investigators determined the fire had started in the living room on the second floor; but before they say publicly what the cause is, they wanted to speak further with the occupants.

“We’re looking for some more information about what was contained on the second floor as far as furnishings and the layout,” Grimes said.

He said the six people living on the second floor at the time of the fire were Melissa Clifford, 56; Grace Brown, 19; Hope Cogswell, 14; Ty Peters, 19; Trinity Axtell, 26; and Taylor Poulin, 28. Grimes said he did not know the relationships of the occupants to each other. He also did not know if the building was insured.

Asked if the fire was considered suspicious, Grimes said he did not believe so; but he added that until investigators classify the fire, they “just don’t know.”

Grimes had said earlier at the scene that having working smoke detectors is the best early warning to tenants that there is a fire, and when batteries are removed from them, it’s like not having smoke detectors at all.

Grimes said state fire investigators are interviewing neighbors and those who were in the building when the fire broke out. Waterville police also were assisting, and their knowledge of the neighborhood and people in the area is invaluable in such investigations, Grimes said.

“There’s a potential for dozens and dozens of interviews,” he said.

More than 40 firefighters from Waterville, Winslow, Fairfield, Oakland, Skowhegan and Vassalboro worked at the scene, and the last crew left the scene around 4 p.m. Waterville police and Delta Ambulance crews also worked at the scene, where Public Works Department employees sanded roads and other icy surfaces. The apartment building is at the corner of Summer and Redington streets, where neighbors gathered on doorsteps and snowy sidewalks to watch emergency crews work.

That immediate area of Summer Street, in the city’s South End, was closed to traffic as crews worked.

Firefighters used tower and ladder trucks to spray water to the peaks of the building, where flames were still showing several hours after the fire started.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro asked people to “please pray for those injured in this morning’s fire.”

“Thank you to all the first responders who remind us once again they put their life on the line for the rest of us every day,” Isgro wrote.

A Summer Street neighbor, Jenna Albert, said she started hearing screaming for help shortly after 5 a.m. and police, and fire crews arrived quickly at the two-unit, 2.5-story building.

“I saw a young girl being helped out of the house by the fireman,” Albert said. “She came out of a second-story window onto the covered porch. There was so much smoke billowing out of the building. It was surprising to see someone walk out of it.”

Neighbors said there are two apartments in the building — one on the first floor and one on the second.

Tanya Glidden, who lives across the street, said a woman and her two daughters live on the second floor, and that their old yellow dog, Buddy, died in the fire; but she thinks a cat was rescued. She said she thought the family also had a kitten and a guinea pig, but she was not sure of their status.

“Buddy was a big dog and overweight,” Glidden said. “He could barely move. He had arthritis. Everybody loved him. A couple of firefighters tried to do CPR on him.”

Glidden was standing on her mother’s doorstep with her niece, Samantha Glidden, and friend Courtney DesIsles.

The women said they were sad for the tenants who have their lost their homes. Tanya Glidden said her mother woke her up just after 5 a.m. and told her there was a fire across the street.

“I opened the door and said, ‘Oh, it’s Missy’s house,’ ” she recalled, referring to Clifford, the mother of the two young women.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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