Owner of Bob's Service and Repair grieves loss of 28-year-old building

Fort Fairfield, Me (WAGM) A pile of icy rubble is all that's left of the building that was Bob's Service and Repair in Fort Fairfield.

"It's kind of hard to explain, I think the community as a whole is going through what I'm going through," said Robert Kilcollins.

A fire destroying the place he's done business out of for the last 28 years was certainly not the way Robert or Bob Kilcollins hoped to close out one year and begin another. But that's what happened, and now he's doing his best to come to grips with it.

"Just trying to digest everything, we're doing better, and we'll get better..and we're strong, and the community around us is very helpful and strong and I won't let the community down we're going to clean up the mess, make everything right and rebuild," said Kilcollins.

Firefighters say a waste oil furnace malfunction caused the fire. 30 firefighters from multiple different crews came out to fight it Sunday afternoon. The fire took 12 hours to extinguish...Fort Fairfield Fire Chief Vince Baldwin says the cold weather and the amount of hazardous materials inside the building made this fire a challenging one.

"There was approximately 9,000 gallons of waste oil plus about 900 gallons of number two fuel. So with all of that burning that increased the intensity of the fire and increased the damage," he said.

Crews were able to save the adjacent Advance Auto Parts store and an apartment building on the other side, though the apartment building sustained some damage. David Lown saw the fierce flames from where he lives and drove by to see what was going on.

"You could see from over a mile away how big the fire was and there was a glow downtown and the black smoke I knew it was a big fire, I just was hoping nobody was in trouble," he said.

And on Monday he came back to look at the damage done.

"Bob was always there for us he did a lot of work for us on our vehicles and farm equipment and it was sad to see this happen," he said.

Kilcollins says he's received hundreds of calls and text messages since Sunday night.

"I am very grateful for the support and I apologize to everybody that has reached out and I've been going back and thanking them," he said.

Kilcollins assures the community he will rebuild in the spring, and for the time being he will work out of other locations. Though it's a not the start anyone would wish for, he's not losing hope for 2018.

"I woke up this morning, put my uniform on, took a few calls, lined up some work for tomorrow, and that's what it's all about, so there is happiness down the road, yes," he said.

The building was insured.