Fire engulfs downtown Gardiner building

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GARDINER, Maine (WABI) - A structure fire in Gardiner shut down the downtown area for nearly the whole day Friday.

Crews responded to a fire at the intersection of Water and Church Streets in Gardiner at around 3:00am Friday morning.

Officials say no one was inside the building at the time.

Local business owner Jim Rideout was on the scene about an hour after the fire started.

"I was on my way to the gym earlier this morning about 4:00 and I saw that the police had the street blocked off by my office, so I went in my back door to go into the front and then I looked down the street and saw all the flames coming out of the roof," said Rideout, owner of Strategic Real Estate Services.

Crews battled the fire into the early afternoon, as the fire kept flaring up.

The building contains a Domino's, a law firm, and a consulting firm.

It has a long history, though.

"Way back it used to be a hotel, about four stories," said Rideout. "And then it got taken over by a bank and was converted to the bank. It's been a bank pretty much my entire life until maybe about two years ago."

With traffic on Water Street closed through about 3:15 Friday afternoon, businesses took a hit.

"This is the only downtown area that we have and it's a one-way traffic so everybody's basically closed down for the entire day because we can't have any customers come in without any parking at all," said Rideout.

Rideout said he's confident the Dominos will make a comeback.

"They're good to the community and they do a lot of stuff with all of the locals here, and I think everybody will pitch in and work together to get them back up and running."