A two-story apartment building in Thomaston was engulfed in smoke and flames after a fire broke out Sunday afternoon.

The alarm for the structure fire went out at approximately 1 p.m. Oct. 9 when a resident reported that flames were showing in a nearby apartment unit of the building on Knox Street, next to the railroad tracks.

At the scene, thick columns of smoke rose from both sides of the structure. There are about 10 apartments in the building.

A Thomaston Fire Department ladder truck was stationed at one end of the building; a Rockland Fire Department ladder truck was at the other side.

Firefighters broke through second-story windows to gain access for their water lines. Multiple streams of water were dousing the building.

The roof and second story were charred black.

About an hour into the fire, the blaze seemed to be diminishing, but then fires kept popping up, including at the peak of the roof.

Residents and neighbors watched, some with tears in their eyes and signs of minor injuries. It appeared that the fire started fast and moved fast.

Just before 2 p.m., a missing cat was returned to its owner, and onlookers applauded.

A little later, the Thomaston fire chief told the building’s residents they could not enter their apartments any time soon. He said the Red Cross would arrive to help.

Thomaston Fire Chief Mike Leo said he did not immediately know the cause of the fire.

There were two roofs on the building, Leo said, and firefighters were using high-pressure water steams to break through.

The fire chief said he was at three-alarm status. Thomaston, Rockland and South Thomaston fire crews were on scene, with Cushing and Warren covering. Some of those personnel were also on scene.

Fire Chief Leo said crews would be on scene for a long time.

This story will be updated.

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