RANGELEY — Firefighters from five towns worked Monday night to evacuate residents, many senior citizens, from an apartment complex when they responded to a report of smoke coming from an elevator at 14 School St.

There are about 24 apartments at Town Hall Apartments at the two-story complex, which are considered affordable housing units.

When Chief Michael Bacon of the Rangeley Fire Rescue Department arrived he didn’t see any smoke showing from the outside. When he went inside the complex, he saw heavy white smoke filling the hallway.

Firefighters started operating stair-lift chairs to get the residents out. They took the residents across the street to the Fire Station to keep them warm.

Bacon said he noticed that the white smoke was not moving, which it does if there is a fire. Firefighters checked the power to see if it was OK.

“We searched and inspected the building to make sure nothing was burning or on fire,” he said.


Bacon could smell something like an incense odor as he walked around, but not like the odor one would smell from a fire burning.

It took firefighters about 30 to 45 minutes get all residents out and to conduct preliminary and secondary checks as they looked for the cause.

Bacon finally had the residents all seated and asked if they knew what caused the smoke. No one said anything. Finally, a resident told firefighters she had walked through the hall with a lit cone-shaped incense.

About 20 firefighters responded. Assisting Rangeley were departments from Eustis, Phillips, Strong and Wilson Mills in Lincoln Plantation. Border Patrol and NorthStar EMS personnel also assisted at the scene.

Comments are not available on this story.