SABATTUS – The video store has re-opened. The Chinese restaurant might be open next week. But nobody knows when Cumberland Farms will re-open after a fire ripped through a Route 126 strip mall late Friday night.

Sabattus fire investigators and officials from the State Fire Marshal’s Office have determined the blaze started around a heater in the Cumberland Farms bathroom.

According to Sabattus fire Chief Robert Scott, it was unknown if the heater had faulty wiring or if it was placed too close to combustible material.

The fire started inside the convenience store while two customers were there at about 10 p.m. Friday, officials said. A store clerk suffered second degree burns to his forehead trying to fight the flames.

When crews from Sabattus and Lewiston first arrived at the scene, their immediate concern was the risk of explosion from gas pumps and tanks outside the store.

Flames were tearing through the rear of Cumberland Farms while thick smoke filled the two other businesses located next to it.

“We thought we might lose the whole place. The firefighters went in right away and attacked the flames,” Scott said.

Crews battled fire at the rear corner of the store, but kept the fire away from the gas pumps and a rack of propane tanks located near the source of the blaze.

Meanwhile, employees and customers fled the three businesses at the strip mall.

Next to Cumberland Farms, Yeung’s Chinese Restaurant sustained smoke and water damage. Next door to that, Qwik Stop Video also filled with smoke, although Scott said less of their merchandise was damaged. Qwik Stop Video was opened for business on Tuesday. Yeung’s is expected to open next week. Scott said extensive repairs will need to be made before Cumberland Farms is back in business.

Damage to the strip mall from the late night blaze was estimated at more than $100,000.



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.