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One child dead in Houlton apartment fire, police say

People who have been displaced by the fire can call 1-800-RED-CROSS for further assistance, the organization said.

HOULTON, Maine — A 4-year-old boy died after a downtown Houlton apartment fire broke out Wednesday morning, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. 

Officials on Thursday identified the boy as Taimi Pinkham. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that his death was caused by smoke inhalation.

The three-story multi-unit apartment building at 5 Mechanic St. was deemed a total loss.

A 12-year-old and 4-year-old twins, all siblings, were taken to the hospital earlier Wednesday, according to Moss. The three children were home alone when the fire broke out, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss said in a news release. 

The 4-year-old girl, the deceased victim's twin, was treated for smoke inhalation at the Houlton Regional Hospital. The 12-year-old boy was flown by helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland to be treated for burn injuries but is expected to recover, the news release states. A firefighter also was treated at the scene for breathing issues. 

By 12:55 p.m., firefighters were out of the building and working to protect other buildings nearby, according to the Houlton Fire Department.

The American Red Cross said in a news release that it is assisting 38 people who are displaced as a result of the fire. However, the organization said its shelter at the John A. Millar Civic Center would close at 5 p.m. Thursday. 

People who have been displaced by the fire can still call 1-800-RED-CROSS for further assistance, the organization said.

In a release, the town of Houlton provided the following information about how people can assist those who have been displaced:

"Those interested in assisting the families affected should contact Adopt-A-Block at (207)532-2273 (532-CARE), the Salvation Army at (207)532-2322 or the Houlton Town Office at (207)532-7111 to determine what is needed.  Adopt-A-Block officials report that they are currently accepting donations of non-perishable foods and furniture.

Financial donations are also being accepted by the Town.  Checks may be made payable to the Town of Houlton.  A separate account will be set and all up to assure that all funds are used to assist those directly impacted by the fire.  The Town’s General Assistance Office will also be working with these individuals."

"It's a small community and, as such, everybody cares about each other and we're heartbroken," Houlton public information officer Nancy Ketch told NEWS CENTER Maine.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire.

This story will be updated.

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