Two dogs died in a fire Friday at the American Lodge apartment complex on Main Street in Fairfield. The fire started in a second-floor apartment and was contained to that unit. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

FAIRFIELD — Two dogs perished in a fire that broke out Friday in a second-floor unit at American Lodge on Main Street, drawing firefighters from several area towns.

Fairfield-Benton fire Chief Travis Leary said at the scene that the fire was reported at 9:49 a.m. at 31 Main St., with the caller saying people may be trapped inside, which turned out not to be the case.

The dogs were alone in the one-bedroom apartment and the couple who lived there returned home after firefighters arrived.

“No civilians were injured or trapped,” Leary said.

He said it appeared the dogs died from smoke inhalation. The fire was confined to the kitchen area of the unit, he said.

“The fire was not very large but the smoke damage was very heavy throughout the apartment,” Leary said.


State fire investigator Edward Hastings arrived at the scene and spoke with officials and others, but said he could not comment publicly about the investigation.

But the spokeswoman for the fire marshal’s office, Shannon Moss, later said by email that it was “an accidental electrical fire.” She did not elaborate.

The owner of the building, Geoffrey Burr, had said earlier that the electric lines in the building, which has 12 units, were all replaced within the last five years.

American Lodge has a total of 34 units in three buildings that are adjacent to one another, according to Burr.

More than a dozen firefighters responded from Clinton, Fairfield, Skowhegan, Waterville and Winslow, and Oakland firefighters stood by at the Fairfield station.

Fairfield police and Delta Ambulance were on scene and Central Maine Power Co. turned off power to the building, according to Leary. He said at least two people were displaced — those who lived in the apartment where the fire occurred — and there may be more.


At the scene, many people came out of their units to watch the response by firefighters and to try to comfort a woman who lived in the apartment where the dogs died.

Heaven Gowen, 22, lived next door to that unit. She said she noticed smoke coming from the apartment and banged on the door with no response. She knew there were dogs inside that would normally bark but didn’t at that point, so she and others kicked the door open, encountering overwhelming thick, black smoke. Her mother then called 911, Gowen said.

She said she didn’t know the names of the couple who lived there, but she and her mother will try to help them in any way they can, especially since they lost their dogs and can’t stay in their apartment.

“They’re really emotional, obviously,” Gowen said. “They’re their dogs, their fur babies.”

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