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Old Town crews contain kitchen fire quickly on lieutenant’s final day on the job

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Posted JUNE 15, 2012, at 12:29 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — Talk about a memorable last day on the job for Old Town Fire Lt. Mark Graffam.

The 28-year veteran, who is retiring after his shift Friday, responded to one last call Friday morning when a fire broke out in the kitchen of an apartment building on the corner of Stillwater Avenue and Veazie Street.

“There was a room full of smoke when we showed up, a good buildup of smoke coming out of the rear corner of the building,” Graffam said.

Crews were able to get in and knock the fire down in “less than five minutes,” Graffam said.

The building contains two apartments, and while two tenants were able to get out quickly, one woman had to be rescued from an upstairs unit, Graffam said.

“I went up and quickly kicked the door in to get the lady upstairs,” who seemed “very confused,” said Graffam.

The kitchen where the fire started saw heavy smoke damage, but crews were able to keep the smoke from spreading to the rest of the building, Graffam said. Orono and Milford firefighters assisted their Old Town counterparts.

“A handful of off-duty firefighters were here because they were getting ready to throw me a little luncheon so we had a very nice response with full trucks,” said Graffam.

No firefighters or tenants were injured in the fire, sending Graffam into retirement a happy man.

“It’s nice because no one got hurt,” he said. “This is how I’m going to end it.”

Graffam said there is no word yet on a cause. Old Town officials will continue to investigate the incident and interview the building’s tenants.

Mark worked as an Old Town firefighter with my Dad for years, and he was my brother’s high school soccer coach. Their send-off celebration for him today got interrupted by a fire call.

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Posted June 15, 2012 by benjaminsapiens in personal

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