MEXICO — When Wayne Sevigny, director of the River Valley Recreation Center, got a phone call on July 23 telling him that the snack shack at the Mexico Recreation Park had burned down, he said he didn’t react in shock or anger.

Instead, he began thinking of ways to rebuild.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, there’s another job for us to do,’” Sevigny said. “We already have so much on our plate, and so much that we want to do with the Recreation Park. I just saw it as another thing to do on our checklist.”

However, five months later, the space where the snack shack once stood remains empty.

“We definitely have plans to rebuild the entire building from the ground up,” Sevigny said. “Unfortunately, by the time we got all the rubble cleared up, and tore off the pad that the snack shack was built on, the weather was too cold to begin construction. We decided to wait until the snow was off the ground and start re-building as soon as possible in the spring.”

Mexico and Rumford firefighters first responded to the fire after a call came in around 11:45 p.m. reporting a fully-involved structure fire.


Mexico fire Chief Gary Wentzell said that by the time he and his officers arrived at the scene, the building was “all but on the ground.”

After the fire was knocked down several hours later, all that remained of the snack shack were several sheets of metal and a single chair, marred black by the flames.

Sevigny said that the Mexico Fire Department and the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office were unable to find an official cause for the fire.

“They’ve been looking for months to figure out what happened, but the last time I called them to get an update, they said they still hadn’t found a cause,” Sevigny said. “I haven’t heard from them in about a month on the issue.”

The day after the fire, Wentzell said that arson had been ruled out as a cause after the dog they sent to sniff our flammables at the scene came up empty.

Wentzell clarified that “whenever there’s a fire this bad, where the entire building is burned down, there’s not too much you can do.” 


Sevigny said that he wasn’t sure when the snack shack was originally built, but knew it had been a staple of the Mexico Recreation Park for “a really long time.”

The town received insurance money from the fire, Sevigny said, adding that with every month the money remains unused, its “value depreciates.”

“I’m not really sure how it works, but I know the value depreciates after a certain amount of time,” Sevigny said. “The insurance company said they’d pay for the cost of replacement, and the last time I checked, they said if they have to kick in any extra money to complete the project, they would do so.”

“I just want to move forward from the fire,” Sevigny said. “My hope is that next spring, when we’re able to start building, we can get enough volunteers so that we can build a new snack shack for little to no money.”

“One thing that I’ve been thinking about is installing a splash pad down there,” Sevigny said. “It would be similar to those sprinkler systems they have at FunTown or Storyland, where kids can run through the sprinklers and splash each other.”

Sevigny’s long-term goal for the Mexico Recreation Park, besides getting the snack shack rebuilt, is to build a baseball field.


“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for awhile,” Sevigny said.

With several months between now and the start of spring, Sevigny said he’s remaining optimistic about everything.

“I think we’ll have a good turn-out,” Sevigny said. “It’s too bad about the fire, but we have a community that really steps up and helps each other out when something bad happens, so I think we’ll be able to get this project off the ground.”

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