Fire leaves state park headquarters in ruins

 A FIRE DESTROYED the Sebago Lake State Park headquarters on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Prior to a new structure being built in 2015, a mobile trailer will be moved onto the property temporarily so that staff can be ready for group camping reservations that start on Feb. 2. (De Busk Photo)


A FIRE DESTROYED the Sebago Lake State Park headquarters on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Prior to a new structure being built in 2015, a mobile trailer will be moved onto the property temporarily so that staff can be ready for group camping reservations that start on Feb. 2. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer
CASCO — Park Manager Matt McGuire woke up to the sound of sirens.
He looked out his window across the Songo River, and caught the sight of flames coming from the Sebago Lake State Park Headquarters building. It was the morning of Dec. 10. Immediately, he drove from the park manager’s home to the building where he worked.
“It was quite the sight,” he said, adding he was very thankful that no one was in the building at the time.
The fire ended up destroying the structure, which is used year-round by four full-time employees. During the height of the summer season, 25 people work at the park.
The 4,000-square-foot building was erected in 1961; and now it was rendered unusable. Although a new structure will take its place, some historical documents that cannot be replaced were lost in the fire.
The State Fire Marshal said it was an electrical malfunction that caused the fire, according to McGuire.
Apparently, the initial call to dispatch was made after the bus driver and students on a Lake Region School bus traveled onto Thompson Point Road, where they could see the flames and billowing smoke, according to McGuire.
“The fire departments that responded — they did a fantastic job,” he said.
In fact, firefighters succeeded in saving equipment like radios and computers from the office section of the structure.
Through mutual aid, seven fire departments from the region, including both Casco and Naples fire departments, showed up on the scene.
Almost a week after the fire, McGuire and a small crew were cleaning up.
The plan going forward is to move a mobile trailer temporarily onto the property. An office will be needed so that staff can take group camping reservations, which begin on Feb. 2, McGuire said.
In the interim, the park personnel are using the vacant cabin next to the park manager’s house.
He was uncertain of a timeline to rebuild the headquarters. The Bureau of State Parks and Public Lands is working with Risk Management, the state’s insurance group, he said.
The headquarters not only housed offices and brochures for parks around the state, but also provided a place for meetings and conferences.
The public can still call the local number for the state park, 693-6231.

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