LEWISTON — Firefighters responded to a small fire Thursday afternoon at the Coburn Head Start Pre-K building on Bates Street.

The fire was quickly put out and the building evacuated.

Only one student was in the building, waiting to be picked up, since the morning class had ended, said financial director Sharon Philbrook Bergeron. The child and staff were taken to the nearby B Street Center to stay warm.

The school is the main office for area Head Start programs. Office staff not wearing winter jackets stood in the street as firefighters went through the building.

Fire Chief Paul LeClair said they received a report of a fire around 1 p.m. after an alarm went off.

“Our units responded. We’re in the process of determining what the cause is. All of the staff have been evacuated,” LeClair said.

Bergeron said one of the teachers saw a fire in one of the classrooms.

“We exited the building. The firetrucks came,” Bergeron said.

The teacher went back in the building with firefighters to show them where she saw flames.

When staff heard the alarm, they assumed it was a drill.

“We have a lot of fire drills,” Bergeron said.

Bergeron was later told the cause may have been a combination ceiling light and fan in the children’s bathroom.

By 1:30 p.m., firefighters allowed staff back into the building.

“We don’t have class on Friday,” Bergeron said. “We’ll be all set by the time Tuesday rolls around.”

The school will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


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