July 02, 2020

Space heater blamed in Corinth fire Ex-club owner’s home damaged

CORINTH – A fire Wednesday morning at a residence on the corner of Main Street and Morison Avenue apparently was started by a space heater, according to local firefighters.

Owner Shirley Brooks, 76, was not injured in the fire, according to Lt. Brad Strout of the Corinth Fire Department. A longtime resident of Corinth, Brooks is the former owner of the Red Garter, a bottle club in St. Albans.

The Brooks home is attached to a former auto repair garage that faces Main Street. The fire broke out about 10 a.m. in the residence behind the garage. Smoke was “pouring” out of the house when Corinth firefighters arrived, said Strout.

The house, located two-tenths of a mile north of the fire station, sustained heat and smoke damage, said the firefighter, but many of Brooks’ personal items were saved. Firefighters ran a fire hose directly from the station’s water storage tank to the building, said Strout, which helped them extinguish the blaze quickly.

The fire tied up traffic along Route 15, which is Main Street in the small town halfway between Kenduskeag and Charleston. The Brooks house is located across Main Street from the United Methodist Church and across Morison Avenue from the post office.

Firefighters from Glenburn, Hudson, Garland and Charleston were called in, but Corinth had the fire under control when the other departments arrived, according to Strout.

Members of the Kenduskeag Fire Department answered the call to the fire, but never got as far as downtown Corinth. A few miles from the Kenduskeag station, the wind caught their fire hose and left it neatly stretched out along the side of Route 15. About 600 feet of 4-inch hose was let out before firefighters noticed they were losing it four miles from the blaze.

Glenburn firefighter Tony Treadwell stopped to help Kenduskeag firefighter Tom Porter load the hose into the back of Porter’s pickup truck. Porter said once they got the hose back to the station, it would take them about 15 minutes to reconnect the sections and store it back on the fire truck.

Brooks is best known as the owner of the Red Garter in St. Albans, which he operated until fall 1999. He and two other men were shot in the entrance to the bar on Oct. 9, 1993, by John Sullivan after he and his wife, Eileen, were thrown out of the club.

Sullivan was convicted in early 1997 of three counts of aggravated assault and one count of reckless conduct with a weapon after a jury trial in Somerset County Superior Court.

In June 1998, his conviction was overturned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, and Sullivan pleaded no contest in October 1998 to charges of aggravated assault and reckless conduct. He was sentenced the next November to four years in jail.

Sullivan since has been released and is now on probation.

In January of this year, Brooks withdrew from a civil suit against Sullivan that was filed in 1995.

Strout of the Corinth Fire Department said Brooks has family in town with whom he can stay while the damage to his home is assessed.

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