WATERVILLE — Fire officials are calling an apartment fire at 11 Elm Court suspicious in nature and say they continue to investigate the Sunday blaze.

The fire was contained only to Apartment 3 on the second floor, but 10 people and several cats and dogs living in the three-story building were displaced because of the fire, according to fire Lt. Shawn Esler.

“We did save that building from a potential disaster,” Esler said Monday morning. “We received the call quickly, we responded quickly, we had hose lines deployed very rapidly, and a primary search of the building done within five minutes.”

The fire was reported at 5:44 p.m. Sunday.

Esler would not release the name of the person who rents the apartment where the fire started.

“Basically, there was a small fire on the second floor,” Esler said. “The fire is being investigated by the Fire Department, Police Department and the state Fire Marshal’s Office.”

Esler also would not say where the fire started in the apartment.

“At this time, we’re listing the fire as suspicious. We do believe that the human element was involved but we can’t say for sure at this time until the investigation has been concluded.”

Esler said firefighters’ priority when they arrived at the building was to get the occupants out. Most were out of the multi-family building when firefighters arrived, he said.

The apartment where the fire started had moderate damage to the floor, a wall and the ceiling, Esler said.

He said the Red Cross helped people find places to stay.

“At this time, the Fire Department still has possession of the building and we’re going to be coordinating our ongoing investigation and I foresee us giving the building back to the landlord this afternoon,” Esler said.

He said Brian Parent, of Parent Management LLC, of Brewer, owns the building.

About 30 firefighters from Waterville and Winslow responded to the fire, he said. Fairfield firefighters covered the Waterville station.

Central Maine Power Co., Delta Ambulance and police officers also responded, according to Esler. They all cleared the scene at 11:18 p.m., he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]