LOVELL — Fire crews from five communities battled a fire in a historic landmark building in Lovell Saturday morning.
According to Chief Tom McKenzie of the Lovell Volunteer Fire Department, the fire broke out around 6:45 a.m. Saturday at 224 Main St.
McKenzie said that by the time the first crews arrived on scene, the building was 75 percent involved. About 60 volunteers worked quickly to battle the fire as reinforcements arrived from other communities.
Crews from Stoneham Fire and Rescue, Fryeburg Fire and Rescue, Saco Valley Fire Department, East Conway Fire Department and Center Conway Fire Department assisted in the blaze that was not declared under control until 11 a.m.
McKenzie said the nationally registered 1830s building had once been home to a general store, post office and telephone switchboard. The building, now a total loss, he described as the "town center" for the community.
Recently, the building was home to five tenants with one space under renovation. In the space under renovation, there was an LP gas heater being used, and McKenzie suspects that was the cause of the fire.
Two nearby buildings escaped damage, and McKenzie said his crews were able to keep the three large LP gas tanks in the rear of the building cooled until the fire was under control.
Electricity in town was cut for five hours, with phone and cable service out for 12 hours. McKenzie said the lines all passed in front of the building and were melted. He credits Central Maine Power, Fairpoint Communications and Time Warner Cable for their prompt response.
McKenzie also expressed his gratitude to residents in town who came out in the inclement weather to provide water, coffee and sandwiches to emergency personel.