Riverside Motor Court in Caribou Destroyed in Fire
A fire that broke out Friday morning destroyed a large section of Riverside Motor Court and Park in Caribou, displacing more than 30 people.
Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department responded to the 19-unit apartment building on Access Highway at 11:13 a.m. following a 911 call by a passerby, according to Fire Chief Scott Susi. Crews from Limestone, Washburn and Fort Fairfield were called in to assist at the scene, while Presque Isle covered the Caribou Fire Station.
First responders, including Susi and police officers, went from door-to-door to get all the occupants out, as some weren't aware there was a fire. Everyone made it out safely and there were no injuries.
The blaze started in the office in the center of the property and began to spread down the row of apartments in the single-story structure. Chief Susi said firefighters were able to contain the majority of the fire damage to the center portion of the apartment complex. Seven units on each end were saved with varying degrees of damage.
Firefighters rescued "lots of pets from the blaze," Susi said. All of the residents' pets were safe and accounted for.
Tenants of the outer units were able to salvage personal belongings, but those living in the middle section lost everything. American Red Cross volunteers were working to find emergency shelter in the Caribou area for the tenants. As many as 35 people were displaced by the fire, including several living in the trailer park behind the motor court, who had electricity cut due to the fire.
Firefighters remained on the scene until after 5:00 p.m.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Chief Susi said it appears to have been electrical in origin.
The property is owned by TBK Northern Maine/Northern Maine Housing Services. The former motel had been converted in recent years to fully-furnished efficiency apartments.
Friday’s fire comes eight months after another blaze damaged a section of the apartment complex that was being renovated. Officials said the fire last July was likely caused by an electrical issue.