OLD TOWN, Maine — Around a dozen people are displaced after a fire broke out in a third story apartment on Main Street in Old Town late Saturday night.
The fire was first reported at 274 Main St.
Heavy smoke could be seen billowing high as a glimmer of orange lit up the night sky.
"When crews arrived there was fire coming out of the third story windows," said Old Town's Public Safety Director, Scott Wilcox.
Crews arrived to the scene in the 10 o'clock hour Saturday night and continued battling the blaze into 4 A.M. Sunday, more than 6 hours later.
"It was a long night," added Wilcox.
All of the tenants of the four buildings affected by fire self-evacuated and no firefighters were injured while fighting the blaze from the outside.
Wilcox said mutual aid from 15 neighboring cities and towns responded to Old Town to help fight the fire as it spread door to door, damaging residences and businesses.
"The biggest challenge is that these buildings are all connected and that they have open void spaces and so fire chases through open voids," said Wilcox.
As the clean-up commenced Sunday, the community rallied around those affected, including some who lost everything.
"As a community, the city of Old Town came together," said Wilcox. "Waters, coffee, people brought us food, Gatorade, so it's been great. Great support by the community."
"It breaks your heart, you know," said Brooke Gardner, who owns a business and runs a church across the street. "These are people's livelihoods. We've been building this downtown for the last year or two or so and getting downtown committees and getting it built up and then to see three businesses go up in flames overnight, it's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking."
She had been outside her Main Street business across the street from the scene of the fire with food and drinks since the early hours of Sunday morning.
"When things like this happen, when tragedy strikes, it's about the community getting together, serving together, and helping individuals that have been displaced and businesses that are hurting right now," added Gardner.
She may be keeping her cafe doors open but the city of Old Town said Main Street and Water Street will remain closed to cars as the fire investigation, and clean-up, continues.
"We're closed indefinitely right now until we find out what the integrity of the buildings are," said Wilcox.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the state fire marshal's office.
The American Red Cross worked Sunday morning to assist seven people displaced by the blaze, but said that number may increase.