LEWISTON — A smoky fire ousted some Orange Street residents Wednesday afternoon.
Wendy Bryce, 42, and 3-year-old Harmony Nelson were the only occupants in the duplex at 24 Orange St. when police responded to reports of smoke at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Neither was injured in the blaze. Fire crews had the fire out and were monitoring it for hot spots by 2:10 p.m.
Lewiston Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette said Wednesday afternoon that it was too early to say where the fire started, or why. The fire blackened the back of the building and burned away an exterior stairway. Ouellette said he'd be able to investigate the fire and to estimate damage to the building once fire crews had cleared the scene.
The fire appeared to start in the back patio of the first floor.
Bryce said she was baby-sitting the 3-year-old for her former boyfriend, Jimmy Nelson, the owner of the duplex. She had just put the child down for a nap and was doing dishes when she heard a knock at the door.
"It was the police, and then they came and got us out of there," she said. The child was taken to a neighbor's house. Building owner Nelson, a driver for Coca-Cola, was called.
Nelson's 5-year-old daughter, Summer, was in school at the time of the fire.
"I guess there is nothing else for us to do but find a place to sleep tonight and call the insurance company," Nelson said.
He said he used the back porch as storage.
"There was nothing back there but some bags and maybe a Walmart bag with a plastic litter box I was planning to take back to the store," Nelson said. "There really was nothing back there."