Firefighters confer Tuesday outside an apartment building that sustained extensive smoke and fire damage on Silver Place in Waterville, just south of downtown. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — A fire that caused extensive damage this week to an apartment building near downtown Waterville and displaced several families was likely caused by discarded smoking materials, according to officials.

Investigators determined the fire Tuesday at 5 Silver Place was not suspicious, according to Shannon Moss, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The fire began on a porch at the back corner of the building and spread to two apartments — one on the first floor and the other on the second floor, Waterville fire Chief Shawn Esler said earlier this week.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames to that area of the building, but the structure sustained smoke damage throughout.

No one was injured in the fire, Esler said, but the residents of the seven apartments were displaced. There were several pets in the building, and two cats and a ferret died.

The American Red Cross has found housing for those who were living at the apartment building, said Jennifer Costa, the organization’s regional communications director.

The Red Cross is working to connect the building’s residents with community partners to assist in their long-term recovery from the fire.

Silver Place is a dead-end street off Silver Street, just south of downtown.

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