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Maine island fire causes millions in damage

November 23, 2013

GREAT DIAMOND, Maine (AP) — An early morning fire that tore through a building being rebuilt as an inn on the site of an historic fort on an island off the coast of Portland caused an estimated $5 million to $9 million in damage Saturday, officials said.

The fire on Great Diamond Island was spotted at approximately 4:30 a.m. by the tender of the Casco Bay Bridge who reported seeing a glow from the island, Portland fire officials said.

Firefighters and police from Portland and Long Island and island volunteer fire crews helped get the fire under control. No one was injured.

The Maine State Fire Marshal’s office is helping to investigate the cause of the fire. One of the challenges in the investigation will be to get heavy equipment onto to the island to move heavy debris to evaluate the scene, said Sgt. Joel Davis, of the fire marshal’s office.

The Inn at Diamond Cove was being developed in a former U.S. Army barracks on the site of Fort McKinley, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, officials said.

Portland’s director of planning and urban development said the future status of the project is now unknown.

“We remain optimistic with regard to development of the site,” Jeff Levine said.

Great Diamond Island is a 416-acre island about 3 miles from Portland, according to the Island Institute. It is part of the city of Portland and has about 90 year-round residents and 200 summer residents, according to 2010 U.S. Census figures.

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