Firefighters knock down 12-unit Waldo Street fire

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Flames shoot from a fourth-floor apartment window at 201 Waldo Street in Rumford on Saturday evening. Deputy Fire Chief Rob Dixon said occupants of the 12-unit building escaped safely, but a number of pets perished.

Flames shoot from a fourth-floor apartment window at 201 Waldo Street in Rumford on Saturday evening. Deputy Fire Chief Rob Dixon said occupants of the 12-unit building escaped safely, but a number of pets perished, he said

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RUMFORD — Deputy Fire Chief Rob Dixon said Monday that the unofficial cause of an apartment house fire on Waldo Street on Saturday night was someone smoking.

All occupants of the 12-unit structure fled safely, but an unknown number of pets perished, he said.

More than 30 firefighters from 10 departments knocked down flames on the fourth floor at 201 Waldo St. There was significant damage to the apartment where the fire started and to the roof.

Dixon said firefighters were hampered by multiple layers of ceiling material that had to be pulled down to access fire in the roof framing. He said the work was physically exhausting, requiring multiple crews to work in rotations.

“It was an outstanding effort,” Dixon said, given the close proximity to other buildings.

Firefighters from Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield, Peru, Andover, Canton, Greenwood, Woodstock, Newry and Bethel were at the scene, while Paris firefighters stood by at Rumford Central Station.

Rumford and Mexico police and Med-Care Ambulance assisted.

The American Red Cross was called to help residents.

Dixon said the building has been turned over to its owner, Gail Rein.

bfarrin@sunmediagroup.net

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