LEWISTON — Fire ripped through a Lisbon Street building Wednesday morning, displacing tenants and badly damaging two businesses and a food pantry.
Fire investigators said the blaze started with a candle burning in a second-floor rear apartment.
Nobody was hurt in the 7:30 a.m. blaze at 906 Lisbon St., but three people were left homeless, eight cats died and three businesses — Affordable Appliance, Liberty Income Tax and Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry — suffered severe damage.
“We are at a loss for words this morning,” pantry owners Kevin and Kristi Boilard wrote in a Facebook post. “An early-morning fire happened in the building of our new location and the damage has left everything at basically a complete loss!”
The Boilards started the business 18 months ago with their 9-year-old daughter, Kayden, to help needy families in the community. Since the program was launched, the family has delivered dozens of care packages to people who have fallen on hard times.
“Heartbreaking to tell Kayden that we are back to square one,” the Boilards wrote in the aftermath of the Wednesday morning fire. “A lot of time and energy was invested in this place to be a week or two away from opening.”
As fire crews battled the blaze at the corner of Lisbon and Rosedale streets, a section of Lisbon Street was shut down, causing traffic snarls before the street was reopened at about 9 a.m.
The building — three storefronts with a pair of apartments on the second floor — is owned by Todd Gendron. It was considered a total loss. The American Red Cross was assisting those displaced by the blaze.
Fire crews from Auburn, Lisbon, Sabattus and Greene assisted Lewiston firefighters in battling the blaze.
The Boilards said they intend to move forward with plans for their pantry.
“We are down,” they wrote on their Facebook page, “but not out.”
The Boilard family created a GoFundMe page Wednesday.
A Lewiston firefighter catches his breath Wednesday morning after coming out of an apartment on the second floor at 906 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston firefighter Lt. Dave Beaule walks down the back stairway Wednesday morning at 906 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Lewiston firefighter Roger Martineau rolls up a hose Wednesday morning at 906 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)
Firefighters work at the scene of a fire Wednesday morning at 906 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)