An early Sunday morning fire that destroyed The Last Unicorn in Waterville was an accident.
The fire started just before 4 a.m. in an area where cleaning rags were stored, according to Shannon Moss, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
The fire marshal’s office determined the fire started accidentally, Moss said Sunday afternoon.
The blaze broke out at the Silver Street restaurant about 3:53 a.m., according to the Waterville Fire Department.
Firefighters encountered a quickly deteriorating situation as heavy smoke reduced visibility and heat and flames kept crews from entering the building. Reinforcements were called for about 3:56, 4:01 and 4:12 a.m.
Crews used an excavator to keep the flames from spreading to the nearby Silver Street Tavern and Cancun Restaurant. At one point, flames began to spread toward the Cancun Restaurant, but firefighters extinguished them and stopped their further spread, according to the department.
Still, nearby buildings sustained minor smoke damage.
The fire department said that three or four firefighters suffered minor burns in the battle. They were treated at the scene, and taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
The Last Unicorn had only reopened in February after an extended closure, the Waterville Morning Sentinel reported Sunday.