Police believe arson caused a fire early Saturday morning in Sanford that destroyed a single-family home and forced the evacuation of nearby houses.

Sanford firefighters responded around 4:30 a.m. Saturday to a blaze that spread from the porch of a single-family home at 26 Montreal St. to a two-unit apartment building next door.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office considers the blaze an act of arson, according to Sanford police. Police are searching for two people caught on video near 26 Montreal St. minutes before the fire was reported, Detective Colleen Adams said in a news release Saturday afternoon.

A grainy, black-and-white surveillance video from a nearby home appears to show two white, shirtless males approaching the home around 4.17 a.m. A second video, from 4:22 a.m. shows two people running away as the fire’s glow reflects on buildings across the street. Police think it is the same people in both videos.

Adams said in a telephone interview that she could not discuss whether materials or accelerants ignited the fire. The video appears to show a blaze that started fast and grew rapidly, Adams said.

The fire was extinguished within an hour, but the home at 26 Montreal St. was a total loss, Sanford Fire Capt. Scott Lizotte said. No injuries were reported, but nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

The two-family apartment building at 24 Montreal St. is likely salvageable, he said, but “due to the heat and water and smoke it’s going to need some work.”

Anyone with information about the fire or the suspected arsonists should contact Detective Adams at (207) 324-9170 ext. 226 or send anonymous tips to the State Fire Marshal Arson Hot Line, 1-888-870-6162.

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