Left homeless in the early morning blaze that destroyed a vacant and an apartment building on Highland Ane in Gardiner, ME were eight families.

The fire, according to the Gardiner Fire Department started in the dilapidated, vacant building. Fire then spread to the apartment building which was about 10 feet away.

"I saw the flames the moment I left the station," Capt. Rob Saucier of the Gardiner Fire Dept. said. "They were about 20 to 30 feet in the air above the building."

Gardiner Director of Public Safety Michael Coty said the fire is under investigation.

Gardiner fire as well as firefighters from Chelsea, Pittston, Farmingdale, Randolph, Augusta, Richmond, West Gardiner and the Veterans Hospital at Togus joined the effort, and had the fire under control in about two hours. The Red Cross and Salvation Army responded was well.

One resident was brought to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. The resident was listed in fair condition in the critical-care unit. Part of the apartment building's chimney fell onto a firefighter, but he wasn't injured.

[This message has been edited by HFD745 (edited June 17, 2000).]