Houlton Fire Department’s quick action prevents downtown disaster

2 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — The quick response of the Houlton Fire Department was credited with saving one of the downtown’s older buildings Thursday evening.

Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone said his department received a report of thick black smoke emanating from an apartment at 21 Court St., in a building commonly referred to as the Heywood Building, at approximately 4:25 p.m.

Approximately 23 firefighters responded to the call, with Court Street closed to traffic from the Military Street intersection to Market Square.

“When our first unit arrived, they found thick black smoke throughout one of the third floor apartments,” Cone said. “The firefighters, however, could not pinpoint the source or see any visible flames.”

Tenants from the eight other apartments on the second and third floors were evacuated as firefighters searched for the ignition source.

Using thermal imaging cameras, firefighters discovered the flames were inside the walls of the third floor apartment and had spread to an apartment located directly below on the second floor.

Houlton Water Company was contacted to shut off power to the building as firefighters knocked down the flames. Cone said both apartments received heavy smoke and water damage, but the remaining eight apartments were unaffected.

The chief said the fire appeared to be electrical in nature, but was unable to determine if it began in the second- or third-floor apartments.

Cone added there did not appear to be any structural damage to the building and the roof remained intact. The building was turned back over to the landlord around 7:20 p.m. with all of the tenants, except for the two units affected by the fire, able to return to their homes.