A large fire engulfed a multi-unit condominium building at Saddleback Mountain in Sandy River Plantation on Tuesday evening, drawing emergency crews from throughout Franklin County.

WCSH-TV reported that the fire caused heavy damage to the Rock Pond Condominium Complex, described on the ski resort’s website as two-level, with three- and four-bedroom units located trailside with ski-in and ski-out access.

Rangeley Fire Chief Tim Pellerin said in a post on his Facebook page that firefighters needed more water and manpower when they arrived because the hydrant system was frozen. Sandy River Plantation is on the outskirts of Rangeley.

A fourth alarm for assistance was called in for the condominiums, which are located on Saddleback Mountain Road.

Dispatchers said heavy fire was reported in a multi-unit facility. Several fire departments responded to the emergency call, according to an emergency dispatch alert sent out just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

“It’s bad,” a dispatcher at the Franklin County Regional Communications Center said. “It’s a good-size fire.”

The dispatcher said at least one condominium building appears to have been destroyed.

“One’s on the ground,” he said by phone. “I think they lost one of the buildings so far.”

The dispatcher said he “couldn’t even count” how many departments had responded to the fire, but “most of Franklin County” was there.

As of 8:30 p.m., fire crews were still on the scene, but a county dispatcher said the fire had been brought under control.

Pellerin was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

A private group – the Saddleback Mountain Foundation led by Peter Stein – is in the process of raising money to buy the ski resort.

The foundation announced last fall that it had reached verbal agreements with the owners of Saddleback, Irene and Bill Berry, to purchase the resort and the land around it. The foundation represents Saddleback season-pass holders and Rangeley business owners.

In addition, the Trust for Public Land, along with the New England Forestry Foundation, reached an agreement with the Berrys to purchase 3,249 acres around the ski area to preserve as conservation land.

On Jan. 31, Stein posted a message on the Saddleback Mountain Foundation Facebook page, reassuring skiers and supporters that he was moving ahead with a plan to reopen Saddleback. The resort ceased operations in early 2016.

“Every day, whether up at the mountain, in the Portland area, or places in between or beyond, I am motivated and inspired by the people who share with me their passion for Saddleback and the emotion of again being active on that mountain,” Stein wrote. “I so deeply regret that we couldn’t get those lifts spinning for this season. We meant it and we were motivated to succeed in that goal.”

Messages left at the Rangeley fire station and with the fire chief had not been returned by 10:20 p.m. Tuesday. No other information was available.

 

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