LEWISTON — Two children playing with either matches or a lighter accidentally lit a mattress on fire in a Bartlett Street apartment Sunday afternoon, according to Lt. Tim Myers of the Lewiston Fire Department.

Myers said that the two-alarm blaze at 153 Bartlett St. was called in about 1:22 p.m. The four-story, eight-unit apartment building, owned by L.J.M. LLC, sustained about $50,000 in damages, according to Myers.

Most of the damage was limited to the first-floor apartment. The porch of a neighboring building also caught fire but was quickly extinguished.

Myers said the only other occupied apartment, which is on the fourth floor, sustained minimal smoke damage. The other six apartments are currently unoccupied.

Myers said that about 35 firefighters from Lewiston and Auburn battled the blaze, which broke out in the first-floor front apartment of the building.

Myers said that apartment was rented by a woman and her children. Two people lived in the fourth-floor apartment.

Myers said that even though the fourth-floor apartment was inhabitable, Watkins did not want any residents in the structure until all the smoke and fire damage was cleared — at least overnight. Two displaced residents were helped by the American Red Cross.

Firefighters cleared the scene about 3:30 p.m.


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