SWANS ISLAND (AP) – A predawn fire that destroyed the town library on Thursday was blamed on lightning from an overnight thunderstorm.

Fire Chief Robert Gardner said a nearby resident reported the fire at 3:40 a.m. and the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived a few minutes later.

In addition to housing the library’s book and multimedia collection, Gardner said the building also was used as a meeting place.

It was also a home to artifacts owned by the local historical society.

Library director Candis Joyce said the two-story building was the last remaining old community schoolhouse on the island and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Joyce said the building was insured.

A fund to raise money for a new library has been opened.

Swans Island, about five miles off Mount Desert Island, is one of the few remote ocean islands in the state with a year-round population. It has approximately 350 residents in winter and about 1,000 in summer.

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