A fire in the bar area at Aunt Gin’s Restaurant in Whitefield early Saturday, May 1 has closed the business, but there were no injuries and the structure remains intact.
“I believe they can rebuild it,” Whitefield Fire Chief Scott Higgins said by phone later Saturday morning.
Higgins does not know what caused the fire, but it started in the bar area in the middle of the building.
Kenneth MacMaster, an investigator with the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office, responded to the restaurant. “The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, electrical in nature,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss said.
A passerby saw smoke coming from the eaves of the building and reported the fire, according to Higgins. No one was in the building at the time.
The Lincoln County Communications Center dispatched the Whitefield Fire Department at 1:38 a.m. When firefighters arrived, “We could see fire in the middle of the building,” Higgins said.
“We went right in and hit the fire before it could really expand,” he said. They had it out in about 10-15 minutes, using about 300 gallons of water.
They checked the building thoroughly to ensure they did not miss any extension of the fire and ventilated the building before clearing the scene at about 4:30 a.m.
The bar area and dining room have “pretty extensive” heat, smoke, and water damage, according to Higgins, while the kitchen has some smoke damage.
“It’s going to take quite a bit before it gets back open,” he said. But the response “went very well” and “the building is still standing.”
Aunt Gin’s acknowledged the fire in a brief Facebook post Saturday morning. “No details yet, but we are closed for the time being,” the post says. “Thank you very much to the fire crews who came out to help us today.”
A call to the restaurant Saturday morning went to a message saying its voicemail had not been activated.
Aunt Gin’s opened in August 2015. The restaurant at 48 Augusta Road specializes in home-cooked comfort food, according to its website.
In addition to Whitefield, the Alna, Chelsea, Jefferson, Pittston, Somerville, Togus, and Windsor fire departments responded, along with Delta Ambulance. Central Maine Power Co. responded to cut power to the building.