Fire destroys Saunders Bros. plant
August 15, 2011 | 7:07 pm CDT

FRYEBURG, ME -- Bad timing is everything.

The same day (December 30) that the Bethel Citizen ran a glowing feature about the new owner of Saunders Brothers plans to expand into furniture manufacturing, a fire wiped out the former company's main manufacturing mill. .

Immediately after the devastating fire, an undeterred Louise Jonaitis said she would proceed with her plans to open a furniture factory that would employ about 15 people, according to the Sun Journal. “I'm not going to give up," Jonaitis said. It's a new year. People need work.”

Fire investigators believe the fire was caused by an accident caused by "human element." The Bangor Daily News reported that the blaze might have been triggered by someone removing equipment they had purchased in auction from the plant.

Some 70 firemen from nine towns reportedly responded to the scene to battle the fire.

Jonaitis purchased Saunders Bros. and Moosehead Furniture Co. of Monson, ME, in separate auctions in the past two years. She auctioned off the contents of the Fryeburg mill, which closed in 2008, in mid December.

Jonaitis also purchased Saunders Bros. Greenwood, ME, dowel manufacturing facility at auction for $450,000. She has reopened and expanded the plant to also manufacture rolling pins.

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