Town of Kittery Press Release - Update on the Fire Incident at 85 US Route 1 Bypass - Thursday, May 18, 2023

Town of Kittery Seal with illustrated image of Fort McClary and the words Town of Kittery, Maine

Press Release - Update on the Fire Incident at 85 US Route 1 Bypass in Kittery, Maine - Thursday, May 18, 2023

At approximately 9:30 AM on Thursday, May 18, 2023, the State of Maine Fire Marshal’s Office, led by Richard McCarthy, began their investigation of the fire incident at the Days Inn, located at 85 US Route 1 Bypass in Kittery, Maine.  An excavator was brought on the scene to pull debris and help the Kittery Fire Department access hotspots that remain active at the site.

There are no longer any persons unaccounted for. One individual was found deceased at the scene.  The other unaccounted-for person was found safe and away from the scene.

All employees of the hotel have been accounted for.  It has been reported that the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard employees that were believed to be within the hotel have been found safe and accounted for by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available from the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  The Kittery Fire Department will continue to monitor the building and address any remaining hotspots that are identified.

The Town of Kittery would like to thank the Fire Marshal’s Office for their quick response and coordination.

Press Release - Fire Incident at 85 US Route 1 Bypass in Kittery, Maine - Wednesday, May 17, 2023

At approximately 12:03 PM on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, Kittery Public Safety Dispatch received a call of smoke at the Days Inn, located at 85 US Route 1 Bypass in Kittery, Maine. The Kittery Police Department was first on the scene, followed immediately by the Kittery Fire Department.  

Upon arrival, Police Officers initiated evacuation efforts. During the evacuation, approximately two occupants were identified as unaccounted for. The Fire Department entered the building to conduct search and rescue but was unable to access the area where the unaccounted-for persons were believed to be, and retreated to assume a defensive position due to the intensity of the fire. 

Fire suppression operations were hampered by heavy winds, dry conditions and an insufficient water supply. Adjacent buildings were evacuated for safety purposes. The fire spread to two nearby structures and brush in the general area.  An adjacent gazebo’s roof sustained fire damage and a home in the  immediate area also sustained minor fire damage.  Areas impacted by the spread extended as far as State Road. 

One firefighter was injured with a minor laceration and was treated on the scene.  A bystander was also treated for potential smoke inhalation and was transported to York Hospital.  The bystander’s condition is unknown, but was reported as conscious and alert prior to transport.

The building at 85 US Route 1 Bypass was built in 1956, is approximately 22,990 square feet and has an assessed value of $1,512,959. Owners of the property are listed as Kittery Motor Inn, Inc. The building did not have a fire suppression/sprinkler system. 

On May 5, 2023, Kamlesh Patel filed for a sketch plan review for redevelopment of the property. The review is scheduled to go before the Planning Board on May 25, 2023. The sketch plan proposes demolishing the existing hotel and replacing it with a new 107 room, 4-story hotel. There is no demolition permit filed with the Town of Kittery at this time. 

Ultimately, this incident resulted in a five plus alarm fire response.  There were approximately 15 responding Fire Departments from Maine, New Hampshire, Pease Fire Emergency Services and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Fire Department. The Town of Kittery is extremely grateful for the mutual aid provided by the responding Fire Departments.  

The Town of Kittery would also like to extend an enormous thank you to our Public Safety Dispatchers, Firefighters and Police Officers who have worked tirelessly today to fight this fire and keep our community safe. 

As of this press release, fire suppression operations remain ongoing.