A lightning strike caused a fire at a 24-unit housing complex in Washburn Sunday afternoon that forced the evacuation of the building.

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

According to Washburn Fire Chief Troy Heald, crews responded to the fire around 12:30 p.m. on Kim Street. Washburn Estates is a housing complex for elderly, people with disabilities and their families.

Heald said the fire started as the result of a lightning strike in the attic of the central portion of the building.

Washburn Fire & Rescue received assistance from the Caribou, Presque Isle and Mapleton Fire Departments.  Crown Ambulance and Washburn Police Department were also on scene Sunday afternoon.

Heald said the fire damage was contained to the central portion of the building, leaving most of the apartments with only minor smoke damage.

The local chapter of the Red Cross provided support for the displaced tenants. The Washburn Trailrunners snowmobile club opened their clubhouse, the Washburn School Department offered transportation and Country Farms Market provided drinks and snacks for the tenants.

Heald said, “It was great to see this small community come together to support each other.”

All of the tenants were able to access their units by late afternoon to gather their pets, medications, and other essential items.

Washburn Estates is owned by C. S. Management of Caribou.  The owners are working to do necessary repairs and get the tenants back in the building as soon as possible.

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