The apartment building at 23 Main Street in Limestone is usually home to more than 20 people – but after an early morning fire on Thursday, many of these apartments are empty and some tenants can’t get into their homes. It was just after three when everyone had to evacuate the building after a fire started in one of the apartments on the first floor. A fire that investigators say was probably arson.
Limestone Police Chief Stacey Mahan says, “we have a possible suspect and we’re going from there, hopefully within the next 24 hours we’ll have an answer on charges and such.”
“Nobody could actually believe it..that the building was actually on fire. My landlord has owned that place for 20 years and never had a fire,” says tenant Michael Cooper.
Investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office Tim Lowell says they have details on how and where the fire started but they can’t release them just yet. Fortunately nobody was injured and there really wasn’t much damage done to the outside of the building, but Lowell says seven apartments suffered either fire, water or smoke damage or a combination of the three and of those apartments, two were significantly damaged.
The Red Cross helped to take care of the immediate needs of the displaced tenants – Aroostook County Branch Manager Joyce Knorr says well over a dozen people are being housed in a temporary shelter – including an infant and two other children.
“People were very tired,” she says. “It was a lot of devastation, it was shock, you know being woken up at three in the morning people yelling get out get out there’s a fire smoke was bellowing out the windows and doors.”
Knorr says they had a ton of help from the community – including members of the Limestone United Methodist Church – who served breakfast to the displaced tenants and gave them clothing.
Church Member Carol Castle says, “we’re just there to open our hearts and listen..a lot of people were ‘i can’t believe this, what are we going to do’ and try to just have compassion for them.”
Others who helped take care of the people’s needs were the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency, employees at Mike’s Market, and the Limestone Town Office.
Clothing donations may be made to the Limestone Town Office, Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sizes needed are:
Stretch 2X- 3X
9 – 10
6 1/2 – 7
Winter snow suits/snuggies
Shoes size 1
Shoes size 6 – 7