Fire in Portland's Old Port put out after 4 hours

7:36 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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Old Port Fire

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Officials say there is still no known cause  for the early morning fire in the Old Port, but it is not considered suspicious.

The fire started around 1:30 Thursday morning and was on the 400 block of Fore Street. Portland firefighters saved the building, but five businesses were shut down and more than half a dozen people forced out of their apartments

PHOTOS: Three-alarm fire in Portland's Old Port

As of early Thursday evening, the city of Portland was not allowing people back in building until a structural engineer could check out the fire damage and make sure it's safe. That may not happen until Friday.

The fire itself never really got out of the sub-basement. But it created a huge column of smoke that spread throughout the old building to businesses on the two levels and apartments above.

Fire Chief Jerome Lamoria says everyone got out safely, and his crew focused on the tough job of getting into that sub basement to put the fire out.

We're told there was some fire damage in the sub basement and engineers and the city code office have been evaluating that damage to see if the building is structurally safe.

The building has three sections and three different owners. The manager of building next door, where Street & Company is located, says restaurant has water and smoke damage. They are working to clean everything up and hope it can reopen Saturday.

The Dancing Elephant restaurant on Wharf Street appeared to have the most damage... with piles of insulation and some furniture piled outside. The chief said firefighters hade to cut through some floors and walls and it may have been inside there.

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