Investigators are digging through a mountain of rubble as they try to determine the cause of a fire at 45 Maine St., which destroyed the three-story building and left residents of 11 apartments seeking shelter.

The fire broke out at 2:30 a.m. Sunday When firefighters arrived, they couldn’t be sure everyone was out. They spotted a man in a third-floor window, as smoke and flames climbing through the structure, said Fire Chief Ken Brillant.

The department was able to use its tower truck and elevate an extendable bucket up to the window, then help the man out through the window to safety.

“He had no other way out,” Brillant said, noting that the fire appears to have started in a central stairwell. “He was shaken up obviously, a little anxious, but not hurt.”

None of the tenants was injured. The only injury occurred when a firefighter from Brunswick Naval Air Station was helping clean up the scene and a passing motorist who stopped to ask directions ran over his foot, Brillant said.

The fire was brought under control by 10 a.m.

Fire gutted the building and cracked the exterior walls, making it unsafe for anyone, including investigators, to go inside, Brillant said.

The shifting walls also threatened public safety, even for nearby motorists and pedestrians, so the building was demolished, Brillant said.

The building had five commercial tenants in addition to the residential tenants, Brillant said.

Nothing indicates the fire was suspicious, he said. It may have started in the basement or on the first floor.

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