CAMDEN —Black smoke spiraling into the blue sky near Camden Hills State Park could be spotted as far away as Rockland, as firefighters from Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope and Union raced to Beloin’s Motel, on Route 1 just one mile north of Camden’s downtown.
The fire was called into Knox County Communications Center just after 2 p.m., Nov. 14. Camden police were first at the scene and reported a building fully engulfed by flames. On fire at the north end of a five-unit motel was Unit One, filled with personal belongings and the occupant not to be seen.
Firefighters converged on the motel, which was built in 1945, and not in business as a motel for some time. However, one man had been living in the far-end unit, running electricity possibly via extension cords from the takeout restaurant just up the hill closer to the highway.
That might be, thought Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley, a potential cause of the fire.
“The building is being fed by extension cords,” he said. “We’re looking at an electrical [origin].”
At first, there was concern that the occupant was home; however, he returned later to the scene, said Farley. His home had been burned to the timbers, and all of his most important belongings – photos, computer, memorabilia —destroyed. He stood by quietly as firefighters continued to halt the spread of the damage to the rest of the building.
Camden, Lincolnville and Rockport firefighters tackled the fire from inside and outside, entering the building with hoses and outfitted with SCBA gear, the air tanks and breathing apparatus to protect them from toxic gas and particle, heat and smoke.
Outside, they sprayed the burning wooden structure with approximately 7,000 gallons of water and foam. With a chainsaw, they cut into the building’s exterior to get to smoldering flames, and with long hooks, they pried the siding off the motel’s exterior.
Inside the motel every unit was full of stored items. Little was spared from damage.
Chief Farley called the Red Cross to help find housing for the sole occupant, who had no pets living with him.
Fred Beloin, the property owner, was also at the fire. His grandparents had started the motel business in the 1930s, and he grew up there. Beloin thought possibly some of the building was salvageable, and planned on having contractor friends come by to assess the damage.
Firefighters are currently battling a fire at Beloins Motel, at 251 Belfast Road, in Camden. The call came in just prior to 2:10 p.m.
A water supply station is being set up at a nearby hydrant on Route 1, at the Lodge at Camden Hills, as fire crews from Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope, and Union make their way to the multi-room dwelling, which is reported to be fully involved with flames.
More information will be added to this article as information becomes available.
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