Crews tore down the structure at 15 Main Street, which was damaged in Tuesday’s fire, for fear it could collapse. Payal Gangishetti

Members of the community of Bowdoinham and beyond are helping tenants who have lost everything in a fire that destroyed their building Tuesday.

At least 10 people have been displaced after fire tore through the six-unit apartment block at 15 Main Street in the heart of Bowdoinham.

Maine House District 55 Representative Seth Berry said the state has resources to help these families.

“I’ve posted a list of resources and some community and nonprofit programs that are available on the city’s Facebook page,” Berry said. “The state and the community itself are ready to help, and many have reached out with offers of assistance.”

Berry said the Old Recycling Barn’s gift shop, a community-run resource with donated items such as clothing, dishes, cookware and household items, was made available. He also launched a fundraiser online via GoFundMe, which as of Thursday afternoon had raised $1,175 of a goal of $12,000.

A Red Cross member said they were working with six adults to offer help.

The blaze broke out before 1pm on Tuesday, drawing crews from Bowdoinham, Bowdoin, Topsham, Brunswick, Dresden, Gardiner and Lisbon. No injuries were reported. The cause is unknown and under investigation.

Bowdoinham Historical Society treasurer Betsy Steen said on Tuesday the building had historic value.

“It was one of our great buildings,” Steen said. “It had been a kind of storefront since the 1800s. The families who lived in these apartments had lived there for many years.

According to its listing on Apartments.com, the two-story structure contained six units. The site indicates that the building was built in 1800.

According to city documents, the building is owned by Goodall Properties, LLC.

Mike Caswell, who lived in this building with his three-year-old daughter, said he had lost everything.

“I haven’t been there since the fire, but I’ve seen pictures,” Caswell said. “Crews ended up having to completely demolish the building because it wasn’t safe, so no one who lived in the building was able to recover any of their belongings.”

Caswell works as a mechanic in Falmouth and now lives with his girlfriend’s family in Yarmouth.

“The Red Cross Society reached out and helped us,” Caswell said. “Many people from Facebook groups in Richmond and Bowdoinham are reaching out and donating clothes and toys for my daughter. We try to make a list of things we might need and what we have lost. We are trying to replace them step by step to try to get back to normal.

Caswell started another Fundraising GoFundMe. On Thursday afternoon, he raised $1,745 on a target of $50,000.

Caswell’s sister-in-law, Brittney Caswell, is hosting a bottle drive at 13 Sampson St. in Richmond. She also collects clothes and hygiene products by contacting others on social media.

“This whole incident is very unfortunate,” Brittney Caswell said. “I think right now it’s difficult. Not only is it winter, but we’re also in the pandemic, so things are very difficult at the moment. The bottle drive is going to last a month, and I make baskets for them with hygiene products. He has been busy.

On Thursday, Steen said the American Red Cross helped tenants find temporary housing.

“We opened the Merrymeeting Hall the day of the incident so people could come in and get warm,” Steen said. “I suggested families visit Fresh Starts in Augusta, which is a community volunteer program where they sell donated kitchen equipment, furniture, and other household items for less.”

Chief executive Nicole Briand said the city administers the general assistance program that families can apply for.

If you would like to help, contact Brittney Caswell at (207) 380-3808. Find other ways to donate by visiting GoFundMe.com and search for “Bowdoinham”.

Crews are responding to a large apartment fire at 15 Main Street in Bowdoinham on Tuesday.


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