TOPSHAM — Eight people were displaced Monday morning after crews “cut holes everywhere” in a Topsham apartment building to access a fire that started between the first and second floors of the three-story building, according to the town’s fire chief.

Topsham Fire and Rescue responded to a report of smoke at 14 Front St. at 9 a.m. Monday morning, according to Chief Chris McLaughlin, and arrived to find the occupants leaving the building, alerted by their smoke detectors.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, but McLaughlin said it was likely electrical, and began in an unoccupied unit. Crews were able to contain the fire, which was in the ceiling and walls, to four bathrooms. The bulk of the fire was “knocked down” in about 15 minutes, he said, and they were able to salvage about 95% of the residents’ belongings.

According to Topsham property records, the six-unit apartment building was built in 1916.

“It’s been there a long time, and been remodeled a lot,” McLaughlin said, and the changes to the building made it more challenging to put out the fire. “You’d go into a wall and expect to find studs and find (another) wall,” he said, adding that there was a lot of “void space.”

The fire was extinguished within an hour and there were no injuries.

“It just goes to show the importance of smoke detectors,” he said. “They did their job.”

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