A fire that swept through a nine-unit apartment building in Lewiston left 39 people – including 18 children – homeless Thursday night, according to John Lamb, a spokesman for the Maine chapter of the Red Cross. No one was injured in the fire, and it is not considered suspicious, police said.
When firefighters arrived, the upper floors of the four-story apartment building were burning, but all the occupants had gotten out safely, police said. Firefighters from Lewiston and Auburn fought the fire.
The building sustained minor structural damage, most of it caused by smoke, WCSH reported. The city will conduct an electrical inspection Friday to determine whether tenants can return.
A Lewiston fire inspector said the fire may have been caused by an electrical short circuit in the attic that ignited insulation, WCSH reported.
Tim Allen, a battalion fire chief for the Auburn Fire Department, said his department was called to the scene at 6:34 p.m. Crews from Auburn and Lewiston worked for about two hours to bring the fire under control.
Arsonists set three fires that destroyed nine buildings and displaced 200 residents in downtown Lewiston last year.
Lamb said donations to support the fire victims can be made by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by visiting the organization’s website at MaineRedCross.org.