Sanford demolition crews take down the burnt structures on Island Avenue on Thursday night. The city decided to take down the apartment buildings because they were deemed unstable. The investigation into the fire is still underway. COURTESY PHOTO/Deb Marchand

Sanford demolition crews take down the burnt structures on Island Avenue on Thursday night. The city decided to take down the apartment buildings because they were deemed unstable. The investigation into the fire is still underway. COURTESY PHOTO/Deb Marchand

SANFORD — The blaze that tore through sections of Island Avenue in Sanford, destroying two apartment buildings, is still under investigation according to Sanford firefighters and the Office of State Fire Marshal.

Investigators were unable to comment on the investigation as of Friday afternoon.

The fire displaced eight residents, according to the Maine Red Cross, who is helping the individuals acquire food, clothes and shelter.

The Sanford community is reaching out to those ripped from their homes as well. Curtis Lake Church ran a clothing donation from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., accepting clothes for all ages and genders.

The city decided to demolish both structures Thursday evening, Fire Chief Steve Benotti said. He added that the structures were incredibly unstable after the fire had been extinguished, and they had to be taken down for pedestrian safety.

“I believe the damages figure was put at $600,000 for both buildings,” Benotti said. “The buildings certainly were not repairable.”

The five-alarm fire was first called in at 1:16 p.m. on Thursday. Local firefighters responded minutes later. When they arrived, they were met with a “rapidly advancing fire in multiple buildings,” Benotti said, and power lines in the area had also caught fire.

It took about three hours to get the blaze under control. In total, firefighters from 25 surrounding departments helped douse the blaze.

According to Benotti, the properties at 33 and 35 Island Ave. were heavily damaged. Three additional properties — one of which was recently renovated and about to be occupied — sustained damage as well.

— Staff Writer Ryder Schumacher can be reached at 282-1535, or via email at [email protected].


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