A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in a three-story apartment building in downtown Biddeford left five people homeless and one firefighter suffering from exhaustion.

Firefighters battle the apartment building fire Wednesday at 29 State St. in Biddeford. Megan Estabrook photo

Heavy smoke was pouring from the upper floors of the building at 29 State St. when crews arrived just after 3 p.m., said Biddeford Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Duross.

Strong wind gusts whipped the flames through the attic area making it difficult for firefighters who were trying to keep the fire from consuming the entire building.

“The wind was a factor because it kept changing the conditions,” Duross said. “It really accelerated some of the smoke and fire on the third floor.”

Several tenants of the six-unit apartment building were home at the time the fire erupted, but everyone, including two cats that lived in the third floor apartments, made it out safely. One firefighter was treated for exhaustion, according to Duross.

Two units on the third floor were destroyed. Duross said units on the first and second floor appear to be liveable, but may have sustained water damage. The American Red Cross, which responded to the fire scene, said Wednesday evening that it was finding temporary shelter for at least five residents.

Duross said the cause remains under investigation, but the fire does not appear to be suspicious.


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