FAIRFIELD Eleven people are homeless after a fire on Maple Street destroyed a three-story apartment building Tuesday evening.

The building is considered a total loss and although no one was injured in the fire some pets were still unaccounted for Tuesday evening, said Fairfield Fire Chief Duane Bickford.

The fire was reported shortly after 5 p.m. by a tenant living on the third floor who heard a smoke detector, said Bickford. When firefighters arrived on the scene, heavy smoke and flames were spreading through the interior, he said.

The cause and origin of the fire remain unknown and the state Fire Marshal’s Office will be investigating, he said.

Among the homeless are Maribeth Beland and Linel York, who lived on the second floor with their four children. They were not home when the fire started, said Beland, who works at Bedside Manor in Oakland. She said a neighbor called her and told her the house was on fire and that she sped home right away.

“The whole house is gone. We lost everything,” said Beland, 30. The family also had two dogs, a cat and four ferrets, she said. They were able to account for only one of the dogs Tuesday evening, she said. The ferrets and other dog were in kennels and the family was unable to save them after they arrived at the scene.

The building, which is about 75 years old, is owned by Sharon Messier, of New York City, said manager Rick Leary, who manages four other buildings also owned by Messier in Fairfield.

Leary said the tenants in the other two apartments are Sarah Jane Brown, who lives with three children on the first floor, and Laurie Pelletier, who lives on the third floor. Pelletier has a dog and cat and the dog was able to get out but the cat was still unaccounted for on Tuesday, according to Leary.

He said Messier does have insurance for the building. Beland, however, said her family does not have renter’s insurance.

About 40 firefighters were on the scene and it took about an hour to get the blaze under control, said Bickford. Firefighters were still at the scene at press time.

Responders included firefighters from Fairfield, Waterville and Winslow, Delta Ambulance and Fairfield Med One.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
rohm@mainetoday.com