FREEPORT — The Corsican Cafe and Chowder House will be torn down and rebuilt.
The downtown restaurant at 9 Mechanic St. was destroyed by fire just after 3 a.m. April 27.
Owner Robin Wade said it will take a year to rebuild.
“It was a complete loss,” she said.
According to Fire Chief Darrel Fournier, the state fire marshal determined the fire was started by a bathroom fan left on overnight. The bathroom was on the second floor of the building, in the rear, and the fire spread up to the building’s attic.
No one was inside at the time of the fire and no one was injured.
Fournier said the fire was mostly contained to the second floor, but there was water damage throughout the building. He estimated the loss to be about $350,000.
The Maine Department of Labor on April 29 met with Wade and other Corsican managers and employees for a Rapid Response Session, which helps workers quickly file for unemployment benefits.
“At this point in time it’s up to them to actually apply,” Rufus Sames of the Department of Labor said. “We’ll assist where we can.”
All 10 employees of the restaurant have already been offered jobs by local restaurants, Wade said. She said she will be spending the next year focusing on rebuilding the restaurant.
Wade said “we’re doing OK financially” and insurance should cover the cost of rebuilding. Last week, Wade’s insurance agent, Dave Millar, of Riley Insurance in Brunswick, said the business is adequately insured.
The Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce has set up a relief fund for the owners, which as of Tuesday had raised $1,775. Donations can be made at any Bath Savings Bank or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 160, Freeport, ME 04032.
Nate Briggs, Wade’s son and manager of The Corsican, said the building is more than 100 years old and was originally a horse-and-buggy repair shop. It was then an apartment building before being turned into a restaurant by Briggs’ parents, who bought it in 1986.
Wade said the family was about to celebrate The Corsican’s 30th anniversary. She said the restaurant had been closed for a month late this winter for renovations and reopened March 31. A grand reopening was being planned for this spring.
The Corsican Cafe & Chowder House on Mechanic Street in Freeport caught fire the morning of April 27.The April 27 fire at The Corsican restaurant in Freeport started in the rear of the second floor.