AUBURN — Fire destroyed the historic Charles A. Jordan House at 63 Academy St. early Sunday.

The building, which operated as a rooming house, had nine tenants at the time of the blaze. All of them were accounted for and safe as of Sunday afternoon, according to Auburn Fire Battalion Chief Don Flanagan.

The wood-frame house, on the corner of Academy and Myrtle Street, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The fire, which began before dawn, consumed the top floor and attic of the building as firefighters from Auburn and Lewiston battled the blaze from ladder trucks and from the street below.

As fire ate away at the building, local residents gathered to watch as the distinctive mansard roof was consumed.

Shawna Rodgers, who lives nearby on High Street, said she was on her way home from work at about 1 a.m. when she saw the flames.

“There was so much smoke you couldn’t tell where it was coming from,” Rodgers said.

“Every time the firefighters thought they had the flames under control, more flames would come up,” she said.

Rodgers said water from the fire hoses was falling from the building and hitting cars parked in the driveway.

“I felt so bad for the people,” she said.

According to city records, the 5,476-square-foot property is owned by Lisa Rae LeBrun and categorized as a rooming house with 10 units.

“We had a great group of tenants,” LeBrun said. “Some had been living (at the property) for 18 years, and some a few months. (The tenants) were really an extended family.”

LeBrun and her sisters were outside the building Sunday afternoon picking up debris, beginning the long process of cleaning up the property. LeBrun said the property was insured.

“My grandfather passed it down to my father, who ran it for an extended amount of time,” LeBrun said. “It was passed down to my sisters, who are here today.”

“As devastating as this loss was, it could have been a lot worse,” said Lisa LeBrun, a sister who spoke over the phone. “I’m so grateful to the Lewiston and Auburn fire departments.”

According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Victorian home – also known as the Deacon French House – was “one of Maine’s most elegant examples of a wooden Second Empire mansion.”

It was, according to the Register, “one of the most ornate Victorian houses in the Lewiston-Auburn area, if not the State of Maine. It is significant not only for its outstanding architectural features, but also for the fact that it clearly demonstrates the craftsmanship of the local Maine builder,” Charles Jordan.

The house was built in 1880 by Jordan “as proof of his skill as a designer and builder,” according to the Register. Other buildings designed and built by Jordan’s firm included The Stanley Dry Plate Factory and the Avon Mill. He also designed and built many of the more-ornate homes from that period in the Auburn area.

At the time it was listed on the federal register, the house was considered to be in good condition and its then-owner, Raymond LeBrun, had plans to restore it.

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