LEWISTON — A fire in a Pine Street apartment Tuesday morning left a couple, their children and four snakes homeless for a few days.

The blaze was traced to a heat lamp used to keep a caged python warm in a bedroom closet, Fire Investigator Paul Ouellette said.

The heat-lamp burned a hole through the floor of the closet into the basement and caused the inside of the adjacent wall to ignite, he said. Smoke could be seen coming out of the building’s eaves.

Firefighters arrived at 159 Pine St. around 6 a.m. They punched a hole in a bedroom wall in a first-floor apartment where paint was bubbling. Fire shot out of the hole. Firefighters had the flames under control in minutes, Ouellette said. They cleared the scene about two hours later.

The fire caused about $1,000 in damage. All of the building’s tenants were able to return to their apartments except for the residents at the front of the first floor, where the fire started, Ouellette said.

The American Red Cross United Valley Chapter helped the displaced tenants find a place to stay until their apartment is repaired. The snakes survived the fire unharmed, Ouellette said.

Firefighters responded to an apartment fire on the first floor of 159 Pine St. in Lewiston early Tuesday morning.

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