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Fire leaves young Van Buren couple homeless

VAN BUREN, Maine —  A couple is homeless following an apartment fire on Tuesday. 

The woman was the only one in the apartment at 204 Main Street when she smelled smoke and called 911 shortly after 5 p.m., according to Van Buren Fire Chief Brian Caron.

She was not injured and was able to get out of the apartment with two cats, but not much of anything else, he said.

Citing a pending meeting with an investigator from the Fire Marshall’s office, Caron declined to name the residents, other than to say they were a young couple who lived in the upstairs apartment.

The downstairs apartment in the building owned by Joey Ouellette of Van Buren had been vacated just the day before, the chief said.

Caron said the extent of the damage had not yet been determined but that the entire building sustained “major water damage.”

Although the walls remained standing, the roof partially collapsed and Caron said it is likely the building will be declared a total loss.

Firefighters remained at the scene until midnight ensuring the hot spots were extinguished, the chief said.

Investigators with the state Fire Marshal’s office were expected to arrive at the scene Wednesday morning to help determine the cause of the fire and where it started.

The couple is staying with family, the chief said. He added that he was coordinating with the local Red Cross chapter to offer the two additional assistance.

About 45 firefighters from the Van Buren, Grand Isle and St. Leonard, New Brunswick, departments battled the fire.

Caron said no other nearby buildings were damaged. The cold temperatures created icy conditions for firefighters but no one was injured, the chief said.

Caron said it was “all hands on deck,” Tuesday night at the fire scene, with assistance from members of the Van Buren Police, Van Buren Water District, Van Buren Power and Light District, and Van Buren Ambulance.

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