PITTSFIELD — A fire early Sunday destroyed a former pet store building on Canaan Road, but firefighters were able to save an unoccupied house that is about 3 feet from the structure, according to Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams.

The cause of the fire at 456 Canaan Road, also known as U.S. Route 2,  is unknown, but state fire investigators are expected to arrive Monday to inspect the site, Williams said.

“The fire marshal, hopefully, will be here tomorrow to look at it and see if we can figure it out,” he said.

The town-owned building that burned early Sunday morning on U.S. Route 2 in Pittsfield has not been occupied for at least a few years, according to Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

The fire was reported at 12:58 a.m. Sunday and firefighters from seven towns worked at the scene for five to six hours, leaving the area early Sunday morning, according to Williams. No one was injured and the house was undamaged, he said.

The house and former store have been unoccupied for about three years, and there was no power to the site, Williams said.

“It belongs to the town — the town had acquired it for taxes,” he said.

The former pet store is U-shaped, with a connector between the two wings, which are parallel to the road, according to Williams. He estimated the former store building is 1,500 to 1,800 square feet in size. Inside the building were various items, including tables and chairs, he said.

“I don’t think there was anything of any great value in there,” he said.

He said the fire started in the south wing of the building.

“When I got there, that was totally engulfed and the connector was pretty well going,” Williams said.

He said he was unsure whether the buildings were insured.

Fire destroyed a building that once housed a pet shop early Sunday morning on U.S. Route 2 in Pittsfield, but firefights managed to save a house standing only 3 feet away from it, at left. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

The property is about 3 miles from the Canaan town line.

Firefighters from Pittsfield, Canaan, Detroit, Hartland, St. Albans, Newport and Skowhegan went to the scene, as did Pittsfield police and Sebasticook Valley Ambulance, according to Williams.

“They did a good job, or the house would be gone,” he said. “We didn’t have much clearance.”

No one was at the property later Sunday. The house and remains of the former store, both bluish-gray in color, were surrounded by tall grass, trampled down by firefighters who had worked there earlier. A charred, overstuffed chair lay upside down in the grass outside the former pet store. A boat next to the building appeared to be undamaged.

Across the road, Jerry Halton, who lives at the corner of U.S. Route 2 and Powers Road, said no one has lived in the house for at least a couple of years, so he was surprised that the building would catch fire.

“I don’t think there’s any power or anything there,” Halton said.

He said he thought the man who last lived in the house was renting to own and then moved to Portland.

“He used to have goats and all that stuff, cows,” Halton said.

Emergency crews were at the property all night, according to Halton.

“There were eight or 10 trucks out here until 4:30, 5 o’clock, and they had to come back because the fire wasn’t out,” he said.

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