WATERVILLE — State and local fire officials are working with Waterville police detectives to investigate a fire that damaged a duplex on Green Street in the city’s South End late Saturday and displaced a couple who live on the other side of the duplex.

No one was home at the time of the fire, which occurred at 34 Green St., and the couple who lived at 36 Green also were not at home.

Roland Hallee, who owns the duplex and rents it out, said the man who lives at 34 Green is away, but a homeless couple had been living with him about 1.5 months, but were to move out Saturday morning. The fire damaged that side of the duplex.

Ken MacMaster, senior fire investigator for the state Fire Marshal’s Office, was at the scene Monday with state fire investigator Jeremy Damren and Waterville fire Captain John Gromek.

“We’re just kind of starting the investigation,” MacMaster said. “We’re done with the scene. The fire started in the basement. We have a cause but we can’t disclose it. We’ve got a lot more investigative leads to follow up on, a lot of people we have to track down. We’re working with Waterville police and Waterville fire and tracking down people who last had interest in that particular part of the building.”

Gromek said the police detective division is helping with the investigation, and they and fire officials are working well together on the case.

Meanwhile, Hallee said the couple who live on the 36 Green St. side of the duplex were able to move back in Sunday and were cleaning because smoke had permeated the inside.

“The air quality has been tested and it’s fine,” Hallee said.

Hallee was on his cellphone in the street in front of the duplex Monday, talking to an insurance adjuster. He said there was substantial damage to 34 Green St.

“I guess most of the damage is in the southwest corner kitchen area, directly above where the fire started,” he said. “There’s a lot of damage in the kitchen area — the ceilings are down and the Formica counters are melted.”

He said the insurance adjuster will be visiting the site on Friday. Hallee said he was born and raised in the building, which has been in his family 83 years.

Firefighters were called to the duplex at 10:47 p.m. Saturday as smoke was coming out of the building. They went in, determined no one was inside and aggressively attacked the fire, according to Waterville fire Chief Shawn Esler, who was at the scene. Twenty-one firefighters from Waterville and other area municipalities worked at the scene.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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