Fire Rated Block Helps Contain Fire at Camden Harbor

CAMDEN (Dec 23, 08): Camden Fire Chief is crediting mutual aid training and the state fire marshal's requirement of a firewall at the back of Stuart Smith's new building for helping to contain the blaze that consumed the waterfront construction project on Bay View Landing. The fire was reported by a passerby on Camden's public landing around 5:50 p.m. Farley said there were a number of people walking down along the harbor who saw an orange glow inside the building and called 911. By the time first responders arrived, flames had begun to show on the harbormaster's shack side of the new building, which was begun in October and slated for a new first-floor, 150-seat restaurant and a 10-room inn on the second floor. Within three minutes, flames were so intense and far-reaching that firefighters attacking from the waterfront side of the building had to take a different approach. Farley said the fire likely grew so quickly because of the ongoing and unfinished construction. "The place was framed up but there was no sheetrock so it was just a big open barn with a lot of construction materials inside," said Farley. Mutual aid from Rockport, Lincolnville, Hope and Rockland was immediately called to assist Camden in battling the fire. Farley said that training last month involving other departments, including Rockland's tower, proved valuable in expedient, cooperative planning and placement of equipment to protect nearby buildings from catching fire or sustaining damage. "Due to the extent of the fire on the Atlantica Restaurant side of the fire, their windows are all cracked from the heat and some of the plastic or vinyl clad window coverings have melted," said Farley. "The building got some heat but the good thing is most of the businesses down there, if they want to, can open for business today." Farley said that prior to construction, as a requirement for obtaining a building permit, the state fire marshal required that a cement block firewall be constructed between the new and old buildings on Bay View Landing. "That surely helped keep the fire from spreading to the existing buildings," said Farley.