An early-morning fire at a Bowdoin College dormitory Monday sent one student to a Portland hospital with burns to a hand and displaced two dozen others, but it could have been much worse, the Brunswick fire chief said.

Tristan Young, a 20-year-old student from Massachusetts, suffered second-degree burns to one hand and was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick and later to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he was treated for his injuries. He was listed in fair condition Monday night.

The fire was reported just before 5 a.m. at the three-story dormitory at 250 Maine St., and was extinguished by the sprinkler system before firefighters arrived, Fire Chief Ken Brillant said.

About 25 students live in the dorm, a wooden structure that once had been a fraternity house. They were evacuated while crews worked to restore the building.

“I imagine by the end of the day or early this evening they will be able to occupy the building again,” Brillant said.

The fire was contained to a small area of one dorm room and was quickly extinguished by the sprinkler system, the chief said.

“The fire was started by a candle, and there was very minimal damage,” he said. “There was more water damage to the building than fire damage.”

He praised Bowdoin College for its commitment to keeping its buildings safe.

“Hats off to Bowdoin. They are very proactive in making sure all their buildings are up to code and sprinkled. It’s an ongoing process, but they have done that to all their residential buildings. This is a perfect example of why a sprinkler system is so important. They save lives and property, and that was proven right here,” Brillant said.

Brillant also warned people using candles not to forget to extinguish them. “Candles are easily forgotten. People light them and forget them and leave them unattended,” he said.

Last month, a three-unit apartment building on Swett Street, owned by the Greater Brunswick Housing Corp., was gutted after a candle was left unattended, Brillant said at the time. Everyone was evacuated safely, but the building was consumed by the fire, which took several hours to control, The Times Record reported.

Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

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