AUBURN — Firefighters from half a dozen towns battled a blaze on Penley Corner Road on Friday as a former church went up in flames.

The first calls came in at about 6:30 p.m., with witnesses reporting the building was completely engulfed in flames.

“It was quite the glow in the sky,” one fire official said.

The building at 499 Penley Corner Road is near Fox Run Golf Course. The former church recently had been converted into a residence, fire officials said. The person who lives there was not home when the fire started.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

Firefighters said that because of the remote location of the building, the fire may have been burning for some time before it was reported. Due to that delay, firefighters were unable to save the building and its contents, which were considered a total loss.

The burned building was not the historic Penley Corner Church, a short distance away on Riverside Drive.

The church that burned was once the South Baptist Church. In 2004, when the property came up for sale, builder Rudy Wing sold his home, moved into a motor home and bought the property. Wing had planned to start a golf school for youngsters who might not be able to afford to take up the game.

It was not immediately clear whether Wing was still living on the property.

At 9:30 p.m., fire crews remained at the scene. Police blocked off a long stretch of the roadway, detouring traffic at several points, including Penley Corner Road, Riverside Drive and Sopers Mills Road.

Some roads were expected to remain closed late into the night or even into Saturday morning as tanker trucks continued to shuttle water to the scene. An investigation into the cause of the fire was underway.

Auburn firefighters were assisted by crews from Lewiston, Mechanic Falls, Pownal, Durham, Minot and Lisbon, as well as Auburn police and United Ambulance.


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