Fire at Howland convenience store under investigation

The fire broke out at The Howland Corner Store on Water Street just after 9 p.m.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 12:08 PM EDT
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HOWLAND, Maine (WABI) - Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office are trying to determine what caused a fire at a store Wednesday night.

The fire broke out at The Howland Corner Store on Water Street just after 9 p.m.

When crews arrived, they found fire coming from a kitchen vent.

We’re told there is heavy fire damage in the kitchen area and smoke damage throughout the rest of the store.

No one was injured.

Howland’s Assistant Fire Chief Patrick O’Kane credits the help of five mutual aid departments.

He says they were crucial in helping them get the fire under control in about 45 minutes.

“You think about it East Millinocket is a minimum of 40 minutes away. That’s normal drive time not doing it in a fire truck. So, having the crews on scene last night, that many departments - it’s very crucial up here,” said O’Kane.

The Howland Corner Store is one of three stores in town.

We’re told eight employees are now looking for work.

The town manager tells us it’s a great loss to the community, but he’s hopeful the owners will rebuild.

“I think it will be a big loss for the community not having that store,” added O’Kane.

“It’s kind of devastating. We had seven or eight people that worked at that facility that’s now currently out of a job. It’s hard in rural Maine to find a job in the community that you live, so they may end up traveling a short distance to go to work,” said Howland Town Manager, David Lloyd.

The town has dealt with some hardships this past week. On Monday, a boil water order was issued after complications during scheduled maintenance.

We just got word our water samples passed so the boil water order is now lifted. Thank you all for your patience while this issue was resolved.

Posted by Town Of Howland Municipal Page on Thursday, November 3, 2022

While that problem has since been fixed, town officials say their focus now is to help those affected by this fire.

“The community support, I’m sure, is going to be tremendous,” Lloyd added.