Town Office Burns Twice in Three Days
The Amity Town Office caught fire twice in Three days. The first fire on Monday January 10, 2005 was caused by a faulty heating apparatus. This fire was caught early and extinguished by Town manager Darrell Williams. Darrell had stopped in earlier that morning to start the heater that had been having trouble staying running. After starting the heater, Darrell returned home and called a service technician to come and fix the heater. About a half hour later Darrell was on his way to work in Oakfield where he is also Town Manager, when he decided to check on the heater in Amity. He found flames shooting out of the top of the heater and up the wall. Darrell grabbed a nearby extinguisher and doused that fire. This first fire caused some smoke damage that required airing out of the files and some professional cleaning.
The cleaners had not yet been to the town office when the second fire hit in the early morning hours on January 13, 2005. This fire was spotted by an observant truck driver who saw the flames coming through the roof of the town office. He immediately called the fire department and tried to extinguish the fire with his own extinguisher but the building was too far involved at this time.
This fire took the roof off the building and caused extensive smoke and water damage to the contents of the building. The Maine State Fire Marshall office determined the cause of this fire to be an electric heater placed to close to combustibles (a pile of papers stacked up on the floor). Darrell had been cleaning out the files to air them out and to prepare for the cleaners to come and clean the building. Due to the lost of the heater in the first fire, the selectmen had authorized the use of four electric heaters to heat the office in the interim while they were awaiting an insurance settlement from the first fire to replace the original heating system destroyed in the first fire.
It appears that the second fire was an unfortunate accident. We were very lucky that Houlton Fire Chief Milton Cone was aware of the location of our file cabinets and closed them all before putting too much water to the fire. This move saved most all of our town records and no one was hurt in the fighting of the fire. For this, we are very lucky.
The Amity Selectmen will decide what to do about replacing the building after we get a settlement figure from the insurance company. In the interim, they have rented an office trailer to use as a temporary town office. The town office hours remain the same.