Investigators are still trying to find out what sparked a fire last month that destroyed or damaged three buildings on Water Street in Gardiner.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said in a message left Wednesday that the cause was still under investigation.

Meanwhile, the community continues to offer financial support to the victims. A spokesman at the United Way of Kennebec Valley said more than $23,000 has been raised so far, with more money coming in every day. Fundraising events, including a supper at the Boys & Girls Club and a benefit concert scheduled for Aug. 13, are expected to push that total even higher.

The July 16 blaze destroyed the building at 235 Water St., where the fire started, and damaged two others on either side of it, including 247 Water St. and 227 Water St., home to Gerard’s Pizza. The future of the buildings at 235 and 247 Water St. remain uncertain, but Jeff McCormick, owner of Gerard’s Pizza, said he still is making repairs and cleaning up in hopes of reopening. McCormick said in an email Thursday that he was unsure exactly when the pizza shop would reopen, but he hopes it will be soon.

Roughly a dozen people who lived at 235 Water St. lost essentially everything in their homes, and a tattoo studio that had opened at 247 Water St. a couple of weeks before the fire lost thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. The owners of another tattoo shop, which opened on the first floor of 235 Water St. the day before the fire, also lost thousands of dollars in equipment, none of which was insured.

One tenant was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, and three firefighters suffered minor injuries when they were hit by falling bricks.

Community organizations and businesses continue to raise money to help the victims. Patrick Wright, director of the Gardiner Main Street program, said a waterfront concert already scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 13 now will be used to honor the more than 100 firefighters who helped fight the fire and to raise more money for the victims.

“The public is invited to stand with these everyday heroes to show our appreciation for all that they do,” Wright said.

For information on donating to the Gardiner Fire Relief Fund, call the Gardiner Main Street program at 582-3100.

Craig Crosby can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

[email protected]