SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Improper disposal of smoking materials is being blamed for a fire last Friday that damaged an apartment in a Mount Desert Island 20-unit building, according to the fire chief.

The fire was confined to the one apartment on the second floor of the building owned by MDI Housing, according to Sam Chisholm, Southwest Harbor fire chief.

“The origin appears to be on the balcony and the insurance investigator is checking into it,” he said Monday morning. “It’s suspected the cause is improper disposal of smoking materials.”

The apartment suffered smoke and water damage, Chisholm said.

The tenant was not at home at the time and two cats which lived in the apartment were seen running around and assumed to be OK, Chisholm said.

The fire broke out around 3 p.m. and about 40 firefighters from Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island and Tremont were on the scene for two and a half hours, he said.

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.