The devastating fire at a New England Rent-to-Own warehouse in Chelsea has been ruled accidental.

A Neighbor Called 911 When They Saw the Smoke and Flames

Around 1:00 Sunday afternoon, a neighbor called 911 saying the New England Rent to Own Warehouse was on fire. The Chelsea Fire Department reports their crews were on the scene within three minutes of when the fire was first reported. It took less than 15 seconds for crews to call for mutual aid. Smoke could be seen for miles.

Chelsea Maine Fire Department
Chelsea Maine Fire Department

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There Were Multiple Explosions in Addition to the Devastating Fire

New England Rent to Own builds sheds, storage containers, small camps, and other structures and, according to the company's website, offers a rent-to-own option for people who can't afford to pay it all upfront. The owners suffered a setback on Sunday when their warehouse was destroyed by fire. A Facebook post on the Chelsea, Maine Fire Department's page stated that crews were met with multiple explosions and heavy fire from the building.  A post on the company's Facebook page expresses relief that no one was hurt and indicates the owners hope to 'regroup and push forward.'

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Officials Say Lithium Batteries Were to Blame for the Fire

Once the fire was extinguished, the State Fire Marshal's Office was called to investigate the cause of the blaze. A team of investigators determined that the fire started in an area of the warehouse where lithium batteries were stored. The fire was ruled accidental. A fire last week at the Staceyville Fire Department is also believed to have been caused by lithium-ion batteries that were recharging.

Chelsea Maine Fire Department
Chelsea Maine Fire Department

We'll update this story as more details become available.

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