LEWISTON – Flames leapt dramatically from the back of a home at 3 Wildwood Drive on Saturday afternoon, but firefighters said most of the damage was contained to an enclosed porch behind the building.
Capt. Victor Gaudreau of the Lewiston Fire Department said the fire was reported at 2:31 p.m. at the home of Pat and Moe Beaudry.
When firefighters got to the scene, he said, “The back of the porch was fully involved – that’s a total loss.”
The fire is being investigated by Lewiston fire inspectors, a Lewiston Police Detective and the state Fire Marshall’s office. Lt. Thomas Avery of the Lewiston Police Department said the fire started under the rear porch, but would not speculate about the cause.
“For us, we need to find out just what happens before anybody starts talking about it,” Avery said.
The fire caused an estimated $40,000 in damage, Avery said, almost all of it to the porch. The house sustained only smoke and water damage and the homeowners returned to the home by Saturday evening.
Pat Beaudry was sitting in the living room of her home when she looked out the window and noticed smoke, said her daughter, Kim Taylor of Auburn.
Beaudry got up to take a look.
“She doesn’t really know what happened,” Taylor said. “She thought maybe a neighbor was working on something. Then she opened the window and she saw it (the smoke) was coming from under the house.”
Beaudry called Taylor and her husband, Moe Beaudry, who were at a baseball game in New Auburn. By the time they arrived several minutes later, flames that had been leaping from the back of the roof already had been squelched by firefighters. Smoke still was streaming from the roof vents.
Taylor said they had a similar fire about 18 years ago, while she was still a girl growing up in the house. The furnace caught fire and the flames traveled through the walls into the kitchen, where they were spotted by the family.
Charles and Elize Pelletier live next door at 5 Wildwood Drive. Elize Pelletier said her husband saw fire near the Beaudry’s home but at first did not realize the house was burning. Going outside, he discovered the flames were coming from the home. “So he ran inside and he said, The neighbor’s house is on fire, call 911,'” Pelletier said.
They saw Beaudry had made it out of the house. Charles Pelletier then tried to use his garden house to douse the flames.
That’s when neighbors on the other side of the building looked on and decided everything was okay.
Brothers Kevin and Joey Masse live above Mid-City Motors, next to the Beaudry house. They saw flames, then saw neighbor Pelletier outside with the hose and they thought the fire was brought under control.
“I went back upstairs,” Kevin Masse said. “Then next thing I know, it’s all in flames,” He was shocked when he saw fire leaping toward the sky from the back of the Beaudry’s tan, split-level ranch.
Staff Writer Scott Taylor contributed to this report.