Fire cause remains mystery

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LEWISTON – State and local fire inspectors spent most of the day Monday poking through the rubble at the former Curran Bean Sprout Co. warehouse on Spring Street after fire gutted the building the day before.

No definitive cause was released. Police and fire investigators are probing that blaze as well as a pair of others that burned a home and an empty mill over the weekend.

The first fire in Lewiston was reported at the back of a home at 3 Wildwood Drive at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Firefighters knocked down the flames before it could engulf the house, but damage was estimated at $40,000.

Investigators said fire appeared to have started on the underside of the rear porch, though they stopped short of saying it had been set.

A day later, at about 3 p.m. Sunday, fire was reported at the vacant Libbey Mill on Main Street, next to the river. A worker who noticed the flames quickly called for help and firefighters made quick work of the blaze when they arrived.

Less than three hours later, the warehouse and office on Spring Street went up in flames, and that fire was burning out of control when crews arrived.

Firefighters battled the warehouse blaze late into Sunday night, struggling to keep the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. Part of the building collapsed while other sections were reduced to blackened beams.

State Fire Marshal’s investigators and a trained dog joined those from the Lewiston department in a probe of that fire. The state team was also assisting with investigations into the fires at the Libbey Mill and the home on Wildwood Drive.

Fire Investigator Paul Ouellette said Monday night they were not prepared to discuss what, if anything, had been uncovered in the day-long inspection of the burned building.

Police working on the investigation said it was too soon Monday to say for certain whether there was a link between any of the recent fires.

“Obviously, we’re looking at any and all possibilities right now,” said deputy police Chief Michael Bussiere.

Nobody was hurt in any of the weekend fires.

Meanwhile, police and fire officials are investigating other blazes from the recent past. A fire that burned the back of a Webber Avenue home in March was still being investigated a month and a half later.

That blaze started in the back of the house while none of the occupants were at home.

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