PORTLAND — A fire today at the former Jordan’s Meats building was all but extinguished by about 3 p.m., and firefighters were beginning mop-up work on the blaze, which sent a large plume of black smoke over the peninsula.

Deputy Fire Chief Robert Wassick said a few hot spots were still being hosed down, but the blaze was well under control. He said about 100 firefighters were involved in the blaze.

The fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. on the lot bordered by Franklin Arterial and India, Middle and Fore streets.

It apparently started on the second floor of a building where workers are preparing a demolition for the redevelopment of the property into a hotel, condominiums and retail uses.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, and firefighters arrived at the scene around 1:35 p.m.

Brian Shedd, manager of Opechee, a contracting firm from Belmont, N.H., said he had seven workers in the building removing asbestos and doing other demolition work. The workers were outside on a lunch break when the fire broke out.


Shedd said the workers grabbed a hose and ran inside to try to put the fire out but had to retreat because the heat was too intense.

Shedd said all of his workers were safe, but he did not know what started the fire.

Most of the asbestos has been removed from the building, he said.

Central Maine Power has shut off power to about 3,600 customers around the waterfront and Munjoy Hill at the request of the fire department, said CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice. The outage forced stores in the Congress Street Plaza at the base of Munjoy Hill to close. Rice said the power would be restored as soon as it was considered safe to do so.

The blaze sent thick plumes of black smoke high over the city, attracting crowds of pedestrians who lined up on nearby sidewalks or craned out of office windows.

The owner of a nearby restaurant, The Pepper Club, saw the smoke hanging over the peninsula as he drove into the city with a load of frozen food for his restaurant. Eddie Fitzpatrick said his building, next to the fire, was undamaged but he was concerned about his food because there was no electrical power.




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