Auburn’s weekend fires caused by smoking materials, officials say


AUBURN — Fire officials blamed the improper disposal of smoking materials for fires that burned three local residential buildings over the weekend, including a four-unit apartment building, displacing at least 18 people.

Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Fifield said Monday that local and state officials had completed their investigations late Sunday. All three buildings had been occupied; no injuries of tenants were reported.

Early Saturday morning, fire tore through an apartment building at 248 Turner St. causing “extensive damage,” Fifield said.

Eighteen occupants, including 10 children and eight adults, were displaced.

The American Red Cross and the building’s landlord are assisting tenants with emergency shelter.

Tenants of the building had been alerted by smoke detectors and safely got out as firefighters arrived on scene, rescuing several pets of the tenants, Fifield said.

One firefighter was transported to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for further observation, officials said. No specifics about possible injuries were given.

It took firefighters several hours to knock down the blaze.

Battalion Chief Dean Milligan said it appeared the fire may have started on the exterior of the building, but that area of origin was not official.

Calls reporting the fire came in around 12:50 a.m., firefighters cleared the scene by 7 a.m. They were provided mutual aid by seven area fire departments.

The building was insured, Fifield said.

On Sunday, firefighters responded to a call for a structure fire at 54 Old Farm Road shortly after 5 a.m.

When they arrived, they found the front of the single-family home engulfed in flames, Fifield said. Crews quickly extinguished the fire.

The single occupant of the home had been alerted by neighbors and got out safely, Fifield said.

Extensive smoke damaged the home, which is not habitable, he said.

Lewiston Fire Department assisted.

The building was insured.

At 3:45 p.m. Sunday, firefighters were dispatched to 517 Washington St. North where they found tenants and a passerby attempting to put out a fire at the exterior wall at the back of a two-unit apartment building, Fifield said.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire.

The building’s two occupants got out without injury, but were able to later return to their homes because the damage to the building had been limited to the exterior, Fifield said.

The building was insured.

A fire tore through the apartment building at 248 Turner St. early Saturday morning in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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