Local, state and federal investigators are looking for the cause of a three-alarm fire that ripped through a Portland lumberyard outbuilding late Wednesday night, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage and shutting down Presumpscot Street.

The fire was reported around 11:30 p.m. at Eldgredge Lumber and Hardware at 165 Presumpscot St. The first company to arrive quickly struck a third alarm to bring additional crews to the scene.

Flames could be seen for miles when the fire first broke out, consuming a 120-foot-long structure that held thousands of dollars’ worth of lumber on large metal racks, said Portland Fire Chief Keith Gautreau.

Firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the flames and some were still on the scene early Thursday morning, but Presumpscot Street reopened to traffic.

Gautreau said investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office will work with their counterparts from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as Portland police officers, to canvass the area and search for the origin and cause of the flames.

No one was hurt in the blaze, and no employees were on site when it started, Gautreau said. Residents who live nearby first reported the smoke and flames. Gautreau said the structure that burned, which had a peaked roof but no side walls, did not have electrical service.

“The crews did a great job of protecting another structure right next to it that is similar in size,” Gautreau said. “Conditions got a little icy at times, but now we’re at a point where we’re trying to determine origin and cause.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: