An elderly woman who rescued her dog from a burning building Wednesday is recovering at a Portland hospital after fire destroyed a family-owned landscaping business in Scarborough.

Craig Pooler, who owns Tailor Done Lawn Care, said his mother, 84-year-old Gloria Heatly, who lives in an adjoining apartment, suffered a broken arm and head bruises when she fell.

Heatly got out of the building with her Jack Russell terrier, Milo, but she had to be taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where she was recovering from her injuries Wednesday night, her son said.

“She doesn’t really remember what happened,” said Pooler, who lives in Old Orchard Beach.

The Scarborough Fire Department was notified around 11 a.m. Wednesday of a fire near the corner of Mussey and Gorham roads. The two-alarm fire at 223 Gorham Road destroyed a garage and damaged apartments.

Mike Libby, a junior at Scarborough High School, was going to school when he saw a column of black smoke rising through the trees at 11 a.m. “I could see the fire shooting out from the side of the garage,” he said.

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He said he saw an older woman sitting on the ground outside the single-story building with a cut on the side of her head. She was with a small white dog that appeared to be OK, he said.

Libby and another man checked the apartments to make sure nobody else was inside, he said, while the fire raged in the garage.

“It was definitely blazing, … large flames coming out the opening of the garage,” Libby said. “You could feel the heat from the road and you could hear small popping sounds.”

Deputy Fire Chief Gary Sandler said someone had been welding rocker panels on a truck that was parked in the garage earlier in the day, but nobody was in the garage when the fire broke out.

Pooler said Wednesday night that investigators told him the fire was caused when wiring in the truck overheated and ignited the fuel tank.

The building houses a garage, which Tailor Done uses for repairs and equipment storage, and apartments. Two apartments were damaged. A third apartment was not damaged.

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The small business was preparing to start the busy spring season.

“It’s devastating,” said Brian Govin, who works for Tailor Done.

Pooler said his business is insured and he plans to rebuild.

The fire was brought under control in about an hour.

Built in 1968, the building is valued by the town for tax purposes at $165,000, according to town records.


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