At Least 1 Person Unaccounted for After Large Fire Destroys Kittery, Maine, Hotel

The building, valued at nearly $1.7 million, is a total loss, fire officials said

News Center Maine

The Route 1 Bypass in Kittery, Maine, was shut down as firefighters battled a large blaze at a local hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire at the Days Inn hotel on the Route 1 Bypass was reported shortly after noon, Kittery Fire Chief David O'Brien said at a press conference. When firefighters arrived several minutes later, he said the fire was already "heavily involved."

O'Brien said at least one person is unaccounted for, possibly two. "At this time we are still looking. We do not have all persons accounted for."

One firefighter suffered a minor laceration and a passerby who came to watch the fire was also injured, he said.

At 1:20 p.m., Kittery officials said the Route 1 Bypass was shut down to traffic in all directions. Southbound traffic was being rerouted to Ranger Drive.

"Our public safety crews are working very hard to respond to this incident, and we encourage the public to be mindful of those on the scene and give them plenty of room to do their jobs and keep people safe," the town said in a Facebook post.

The building, valued at almost $1.7 million, was a total loss, O'Brien said. "There is nothing left of the building."

O'Brien said police did "an incredible job" evacuating residents from the building, which did have fire alarms but did not have sprinklers.

The chief said when they first arrived, firefighters tried to enter the building to search for occupants, but due to the heavy flames they were forced to back off and fight the blaze from outside. He said strong winds helped the fire to spread quickly.

Heavy flames and black smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters from about a dozen communities in Maine and New Hampshire were called in to help extinguish the fire.

The State Fire Marshal's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on scene investigating on Wednesday.

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