AUBURN, Maine — While thousands of eager onlookers enjoyed Sunday’s early morning liftoff at the Great Falls Balloon Festival, firefighters from Auburn and Lewiston battled a blaze on Summer Street that left 12 people seeking temporary housing.
Auburn Battalion Chief Tim Allen said the fire was reported at 5:58 a.m. at 116 Summer St. by a neighbor who noticed heavy smoke coming from the gabled vents on top of the roof. He said it appears the blaze started in what is known as a “knee wall” — a shorter wall typically with storage behind it — on the third floor of the building.
Allen said the blaze appears to be accidental, but an official cause has not yet been determined. Fire Prevention Officer David O’Connell and representatives from the state fire marshal’s office will be onsite Monday morning to investigate.
The two-family home is owned by Clifford Griffin Jr., who lives on the second and third floors of the building with his family. Griffin’s brother lives on the first floor of the building with his family.
Allen said none of the eight adults or four children were injured in the fire. Some family pets also made it out of the home safely. According to Allen, much of the fire, smoke and water damage was contained to the third floor of the home and the roof, where firefighters cut a hole to battle the blaze.
About 20 firefighters from Auburn and Lewiston responded to the fire, and crews from Minot, Mechanic Falls, Poland and Lisbon provided coverage for both departments.