Simultaneous fires tax firefighters in Lewiston-Auburn

Posted May 02, 2012, at 7:21 a.m.
Lights from the Auburn Fire Department light up Paul Street as a fire burns at a single-family home Tuesday night. While Auburn and Mechanic Falls battled the blaze, Lewiston firefighters responded to a fire on Spring Street in Lewiston.
Amber Waterman | Sun Journal
Lights from the Auburn Fire Department light up Paul Street as a fire burns at a single-family home Tuesday night. While Auburn and Mechanic Falls battled the blaze, Lewiston firefighters responded to a fire on Spring Street in Lewiston.

LEWISTON, MAINE — Fire departments from at least seven communities pulled together late Tuesday night and early Wednesday to battle two fires on both sides of the river.

“I have no clue right now,” said a tearful Bonnie Desjardins, watching as firefighters in Auburn fought flames in the attic of her Paul Street house. “I just want my little dog to be OK. I have no clue what started this.”

Desjardins and her husband, Richard, escaped the fire at 39 Paul Street uninjured with two of their three dogs, but were looking for the third they hoped made it into the backyard. The couple was home at about 10:30 p.m. when they smelled smoke and noticed flames on their back porch.

Desjardins said there were no flames in the main house until her husband opened the back door to see what was going on outside.

“It went from catching the corner of my eye to, ‘Oh my God, it’s a house fire,’” said neighbor Melissa Shea, who called in the blaze at about the same time as the Desjardins.

Shea said that at first she and her husband thought the fire was in the brush and woods behind the houses on Paul Street.

Battalion Chief Scott Hunter said the blaze was knocked down quickly, aside from the back deck of the house. Firefighters from Auburn and Lewiston were still battling the rear of the first house fire when a second broke out on Spring Street in Lewiston.

Lewiston Fire Investigator Paul Ouellette was on scene Tuesday night at 110 Spring Street. He said the blaze was reported at about 10:50 p.m., but few details were available. The homeowner, Ally McLean, was on scene and meeting with Ouellette.

The causes of both fires were under investigation, though Ouellette did not expect any connection. He did, however, point out that it was rare to have two fires in the Twin Cities on the same night within such a short time.

Both families were staying with relatives early Wednesday.

Firefighters from Auburn and Lewiston were assisted by departments from throughout the region, including Mechanic Falls, Minot, Sabattus, Lisbon and Greene.

According to unconfirmed reports, two people were taken to a local hospital from the Auburn fire scene.

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