smoke damage throughout the boatyard buildings

Midnight fire burns through back rooms of Rhumb Line restaurant, on Camden waterfront

Sun, 06/14/2020 - 7:45am

CAMDEN — Camden firefighters, along with mutual aid from Hope, Lincolnville and Rockport, spent much of Saturday night fighting a fire that originated in the supply and utility rooms of the Rhumb Line restaurant, at Lyman-Morse boatyard.

The restaurant sustained extensive damage in its back rooms, and smoke damage in the interior seating area. The deck and the rest of the Lyman-Morse building structure that lines the dock had smoke damage throughout to a varying degree.

“It was a hard fire,” said Camden Fire Chief Chris Farley, given the number of connecting rooms – “void space” — and the potential for extreme fire conditions, with  that boatyard’s flammable materials on site.

“It burned up through the ceiling and the second floor,” said Farley. “And then found places. It got in above a walk-in freezer with a big open space there, with plywood and insulation.”

Knox Regional Communications Center, in Rockland, received fire alarm notifications just before midnight on June 13, which sent Camden firefighters, along with Camden police and North East Mobile Health ambulances, racing to to the boatyard, home to rambling structures that line a good portion of Camden Harbor’s east side.

Camden Assistant Chief Todd Anderson and crew of Engine 4 firefighters, which included Earle Holt, Jack Orestis, Alex Davis and Jon Heath, arrived at the scene, discovering smoke billowing from the restaurant area on the dock. On the ladder truck behind them were Allison Whiting, Robert Oxton and Clint Beveridge.

Anderson sounded a two-alarm fire, and they ran two water lines down the dock and into the restaurant.

“When Engine 4 first came down Sea Street, they were met by a puff of smoke that at first looked like fog,” said Farley. “And then they smelled it.”

Maine’s Office of the Fire Marshal will be at the scene on Monday to investigate, he said.

The Rhumb Line’s seating area is on the dock, with a small indoor space. Behind it are the utility rooms with a washer and dryer, and freezers. The entire restaurant, however, is part of larger stretch of buildings that runs from the Blue Barren Distillery to the front offices of the boatyard.

Firefighters were in all parts of the building to ensure no pockets of fire were spreading.

“There is smoke damage throughout this entire building, from the Blue Barren to here,” said Farley, standing in front of the office, early Sunday morning, June 14. Firefighters had been at the scene until 4:30 a.m.

“This could have been bad,” he said. It’s all wood. “This building is interconnected with all the buildings, and has boats, and materials to work on the boats – paints, varnish, fiberglass solutions.”

He said there was too much damage on the electrical panel to see what breakers may have been tripped.

“It was a huge effort by the firefighters of the four towns,” said Farley. “And it was fortunate that it didn’t go beyond that area where it started.”