SANFORD — An investigator with the Maine Fire Marshal’s Office was preparing to speak with tenants of a six-unit apartment building this morning to gather information he hopes will help determine the cause of an overnight blaze at 43 River St.

No one was injured in the fire.

Firefighters from several York County communities fought the blaze, which was reported at just after 1:30 a.m. They were able to save the structure.

Melissa Burton, who lives in an apartment building about 15 feet from the rear of 43 River St., said she woke up to yelling. She said she looked outside and saw the back of 43 River St. on fire.

She said she rushed next door and woke her mother, who lived in one of the apartments, and her brother, his wife and their daughter, who live in a third-floor unit.

“The fire was at my niece’s door,” she said.

Maine Fire Marshal’s Office investigator Danny Young said the fire’s origin has been traced to the deck of one of the second-floor apartments, just outside a bedroom door. He said there were no signs of fire accelerants present but a hole had burned in the deck floor. Young was to interview building tenants this morning.

The rear of the building is charred , with evidence of the fire stopping just short of a row of propane tanks.

“They did a great job stopping (the fire),” said Young, praising the work of firefighters.

Sanford Fire Capt. Gary Cushing said when the call came in, Sanford had a crew finishing up at a car crash near Kennebunk in south Sanford and a separate medical call in Springvale, and those crews were able to show up on scene rather quickly to assist the smaller crew that had first arrived.

Cushing said the fire got into the soffit and then into the roof, where it was difficult to extinguish.

He said a man from an adjacent building banged on every door to make sure tenants got out.

The building to the immediate rear of 43 River St. was evacuated, due to its proximity to the fire.

Cushing said when he drove to the fire from Central Station, he could see flames rising over the top of the building.

Besides Sanford’s full-time and call firefighters, those from Acton, Shapleigh, Lebanon, North Berwick, Alfred, Kennebunk, Wells and Waterboro either provided manpower at the scene or station coverage .

Young, the state investigator, said five of the six units were occupied. 

The American Red Cross has stepped in to assist the families. Upwards of 10 people lived in the building.

Sanford property records show the apartment building is owned by Sanford Realty Trust and was constructed in 1920.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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