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Fire at Dresden transitional housing center deemed accidental

DRESDEN, Maine — State fire marshal’s office investigators have determined that smoking was the likely cause of a fire earlier this week that destroyed a transitional housing center, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Friday.

“This was after an electrical inspection determined there was no electrical issue in the area where the fire started, which was in the back of the building,” McCausland said in a news release.

“That area was also the designated smoking area for the Freedom Center. The fire has been ruled accidental,” he said.

Thirteen residents were displaced because of the fire, which broke out early Sunday morning.

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The Freedom Center at 633 Gardiner Road, also known as Route 27, was the temporary home of 12 people in recovery and the primary residence of Executive Director Jan Burns at the time of the blaze, Assistant Director Keven Vachon said.

All residents made it safely out of the building and were provided temporary shelter in Augusta through the Red Cross, Vachon said. Burns’ dog died in the fire, he said.

The building was insured.

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