Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the people of Fort Kent, and the surrounding communities, who responded so admirably to the massive fire in downtown Fort Kent.
In the early morning of March 25, 2012, a massive fire erupted in Fort Kent, Maine destroying several downtown buildings and damaging local businesses. Although these buildings contained numerous apartments, there was mercifully no loss of life. That is because of the heroic efforts of eight local fire departments, the Fort Kent Police, and a town employee who first spotted the flames.
Tenants living on the second floor of the Nadeau's House of Furniture building were evacuated with only minutes to spare as the fire quickly spread. The heat was strong enough to damage businesses located across the street and melt nearby street signs. Moreover, it took thousands of gallons of water, pumped from the St. John River, to finally quell the flames.
The heroism of the Fort Kent Volunteer Fire Department and fire crews from St. Agatha, Frenchville, Madawaska, North Lakes, Eagle Lake, St. Francois, New Brunswick and Clair, New Brunswick cannot be overstated. Neither can the bravery of Matt Bard who first alerted authorities, Tony Enerva and Richard Martin of the Fort Kent Police Department who were among the first on the scene, the Fort Kent Ambulance Service, or the scores of others who helped avert an even greater tragedy.
I am grateful to the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army for providing such immediate relief to the displaced families. I am also extremely heartened by the outpouring of support that has come from the Fort Kent community. Local business leaders have already launched a fundraising campaign to further assist those who lost their belongings in the fire. I know that their combined strength will bring the town through this difficult time.
Mr. Speaker, please join me in honoring all the heroes who responded to the Fort Kent fire.
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