February 26, 2010

Pets killed but no one hurt in Lewiston apartment fire


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Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Lewiston firefighter Lt. Shawn Sanford uses hand signals to direct the ladder into position as they battle a fire at a two-family home on Sylvan Avenue in Lewiston on Wednesday morning.

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Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Kim Teehan, left, gets a hug from her best friend, Kathy Landry, while Teehan's home burns on Sylvan Avenue in Lewiston on Wednesday.

Sun Journal

LEWISTON — A Wednesday morning fire killed a cat named Big Papi and a dog and left a Sylvan Avenue apartment building in shambles.

No one was injured in the fire at 43 Sylvan Ave., police Chief Paul Leclair said.

''It was very heavily damaged,'' Leclair said. ''Nobody is going to be living there for a very long time.''

Later in the day, fire officials were still searching for the cause. The fire damaged the first floor and part of the second and had spread to the roof by 9:30 a.m., but some wrapped Christmas gifts in two first-floor rooms were spared.

''A few of the boxes are a little wet, but they're salvageable,'' Lewiston Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette said. ''They're very happy about that.''

Building owner Kim Teehan, who lives on the first floor with her husband, Jimmy, said she was home until 8:30 a.m., when she went to her church to help prepare for Christmas Eve services, taking her nieces with her. A friend phoned to tell her about the fire.

''It's all in there, everything we own,'' she said. ''We don't have anything else.''

Firefighters rescued two pets, a kitten and a 3-year-old terrier named Carlos.

According to Ouellette, the fire started in the first-floor kitchen, moved up through spaces in the wall, largely bypassed the second floor, and burned through the attic and into the roof. He was helping Fire Inspector Pete Morrell search for the cause.

Teehan and her husband were surrounded by friends as firefighters led the soaked and shivering Carlos from the burning building.

''Thank you, Jesus,'' Jimmy Teehan said, holding the dog up for the crowd to see.

A fire official said damage was estimated at $185,000. The building was insured.

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