Crews tore down the structure at 15 Main St. that was damaged in Tuesday’s fire, due to concerns that it would collapse. Payal Gangishetti

Members of the Bowdoinham community and beyond are helping tenants who lost everything in a fire that destroyed their apartment building Tuesday.

At least 10 people have been displaced after fire ripped through the six-unit building at 15 Main St. in the heart of Bowdoinham.

Maine House District 55 Rep. Seth Berry said the state has resources available to help these families.

“I posted a list of resources and certain nonprofit and community programs that are available on the town’s Facebook page,” said Berry. “The state and the community itself stand ready to help, and many have reached out with offers of assistance.”

Berry said the gift shop at the former recycling barn, a community-led resource with donated items such as clothing, dishes, cookware and household goods, has been made available. He also started a fundraising campaign online through GoFundMe, which had raised $1,175 out of a $12,000 goal, as of Thursday afternoon.

A member of the Red Cross said they are working with six adults to offer assistance.

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The fire broke out sometime before 1 p.m. Tuesday, drawing crews from Bowdoinham, Bowdoin, Topsham, Brunswick, Dresden, Gardiner and Lisbon. No injuries were reported. The cause is unknown and under investigation.

Bowdoinham Historical Society Treasurer Betsy Steen said on Tuesday that the building had historic value.

“It was one of our great buildings,” said Steen. “It was kind of a showplace in a way ever since 1800s. Families who lived in those apartments were living there for many years.”

According to its listing on Apartments.com, the two-story structure contained six units. The site stated the building was built in 1800.

According to town documents, the building is owned by Goodall Properties, LLC.

Mike Caswell, who was living in that building with his three-year-old daughter, said he lost everything he had in the fire.

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“I haven’t been there since the fire, but I have seen pictures,” Caswell said. “Crews ended up having to tear the building down completely because it was unsafe, so nobody that lived in the building was able to retrieve any of their belonging.”

Caswell works as a mechanic in Falmouth and now lives with his girlfriend’s family in Yarmouth.

“The Red Cross Society reached out and helped us,” said Caswell. “Numerous people from Facebook groups from Richmond and Bowdoinham are reaching out and offering donations of clothes and toys for my daughter. We are trying to get together a list of things we might need and what we lost. We are trying to replace them step by step to try to get back to normal.”

Crews respond to large apartment fire at 15 Main Street in Bowdoinham on Tuesday. Payal Gangishetti/The Times Record.

Caswell also started a GoFundMe fundraiser for the building tenants. As of Thursday afternoon, he raised $1,745 out of a $50,000 goal.

His sister-in-law Brittney Caswell is hosting a bottle drive at 13 Sampson St. in Richmond. She is also gathering clothes and hygiene products by reaching out to others on social media.

“The whole incident is very unfortunate,” said Brittney Caswell. “I think right now it is hard. Not only is it wintertime, but we are also in the pandemic, so things right now are extra tough. The bottle drive will go on for a month, and I am making baskets for them with hygiene products. It has been busy.”

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On Thursday, Steen said the American Red Cross Society had assisted the tenants with temporary housing.

“We opened up the Merrymeeting Hall on the day of the incident so that people could come in and warm up,” said Steen. “I suggested the families visit Fresh Starts in Augusta, which is a community-based volunteer program where they sell donated kitchen equipment, furniture and other household goods at a lower cost.”

Town Manager Nicole Briand said the town administers the general assistance program that the families could apply for.

If you are interested in helping, reach out to Brittney Caswell at (207) 380-3808. Find other ways to donate by visiting GoFundMe.com and searching for “Bowdoinham.”


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