Cause of fire that destroyed Bar Harbor hotel under investigation

·2 min read

Feb. 11—A fire that destroyed a three-story building housing unoccupied guest rooms at a Bar Harbor hotel has been mostly extinguished and is being investigated by the Maine fire marshal's office.

The Bar Harbor Fire Department cleared the scene at the Bluenose Inn at around noon Friday, nearly 24 hours after the blaze was first reported, Fire Chief Matt Bartlett said. He said that state investigators are at the scene trying to determine the cause of the fire, which burned through most of the roof of the inn's Stenna Nordica building and caused the northern end of the build to collapse at around 4 p.m. Thursday.

The inn is closed in winter. There were no guests staying there and no one was in the building at the time the fire broke out, Bartlett said. The building had 45 guest rooms and was built in 1982, according to posts online by the town and hotel.

A note on the inn's website indicates that it has been planning to reopen for the 2022 season on Friday, May 27, but it was unclear if the fire might affect the opening date. A man who answered the phone Friday morning at the Bluenose Inn declined to comment.

Officials with Lafayette Hotels, a Hampden-based company that owns the Bluenose Inn and roughly 30 other hotels in Maine and New Hampshire, did not respond to requests for comment about the fire.

Bartlett said that about two-thirds of the building is still standing Friday morning, but that there is smoke and water damage throughout all of it. He said the department had a backhoe transported to the hotel so it could knock down some unstable parts of the building and dig through the smoldering rubble to try to put out hot spots.

Bartlett said he expects to get calls back to the hotel Friday afternoon as small fires flare up again in the debris.

Eden Street, where Route 3 passes several hotels just north of the downtown village, was closed to traffic between Highbrook Extension for much of Thursday afternoon and evening, forcing traffic to detour. During the height of the blaze, huge plumes of smoke billowed east over Eden Street, where onlookers from College of the Atlantic and others gathered on the sidewalk to watch.

Roughly a dozen Hancock County towns sent an estimated 60 firefighters to fight the 4-alarm fire, Bartlett said.

It is not the first time the hotel has been significantly damaged in a fire.

17 Mar 1994, Thu The Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine) Newspapers.com

In March 1994 the main Mizzentop building at the hotel, across the parking lot from the one that burned on Thursday, was destroyed after a propane heater caught a door casing on fire in the basement. As with the fire on Thursday, the 1994 fire occurred when the hotel was closed for the winter.