Firefighters save Christmas gifts in Lewiston fire sparked by spontaneous combustion


LEWISTON — A family escaped in their vehicle with a dog early on Christmas Eve after flames chased them from their home on Webber Avenue.

Fire crews were called around 2 a.m. Friday when flames were reported inside the home at 327 Webber Ave., between Pleasant and Imelda streets.

When the first firefighters arrived, they found smoke coming from the single-family home and the occupants huddled in a car to escape the 14-degree cold.

Fire crews brought the blaze under control within an hour, and when the smoke cleared there were silver linings in the ash.

“Yes, a fire on Christmas Eve is very sad for anyone,” Lewiston Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette said. “However, this one had a happier ending. Christmas presents were rescued – covered and protected from damage by firefighters. The fire was contained to this room with no further damage to the rest of the structure except for a water leak in the living room and in the ceilings of a first floor bedroom directly below the storage area. fire above.

There is more good news.

“Part of the electricity has been restored to the house, including heating, hot water and the refrigerator,” Ouellette continued. “No injuries were reported. The owner discovered the fire and got everyone, including the dog, out to safety. They are insured. The Red Cross has been called to help while some repairs are carried out at the house to make it habitable again.

It was expected that the people who lived in the house could return.

The cause? The second case of spontaneous combustion in Lewiston this week.

The fire originated in one of the second-floor attic rooms that was being renovated, Ouellette said. The property was purchased just two weeks ago. The cause of the fire was the improper disposal of oil-based dye rags in a garbage bag which ignited spontaneously.

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