AUBURN — It took four months to find a new home after a catastrophic fire in April leveled three downtown Lewiston buildings, including Jessica Ramsey‘s Blake Street apartment.

The long wait followed a disappointing discovery: A crib and other generous donations set aside at the YWCA for Ramsey’s baby, just five days old when the fire broke out, were stolen by someone claiming to be her.

Ramsey’s new place is a mile away from her life in Lewiston, less than ideal, but “beautiful compared to Blake Street,” she said. “There’s no bedbugs, which is awesome.”

Ramsey had only lived at her old place for two months before April 29, happy to have found a landlord willing to take her city voucher for a one-room studio and rent her a one-bedroom apartment. The building was condemned shortly thereafter.

After staying with family over the summer, Ramsey said she got moved to the top of a waiting list for a subsidized apartment at Androscoggin Village. Donations from Catholic Charities helped furnish her apartment.

She stays home with Ayden, who’s now 7 months old and a healthy 20 pounds, and said in many ways, they’re both still rebuilding.

“It’s very difficult to explain,” Ramsey said. “I can definitely say that I wish I had my old bed. It was more comfortable, but there were bedbugs. (My old) baby swing was electronic; he loved it. It was the hardest thing in the world to get him happy again because that was his favorite swing. Even though he was only five days old, he was happy — and then all of a sudden, it was gone.”

She has a fire extinguisher in her new kitchen, the first time she’s owned one. Ramsey worries about having to escape another fire, though now there is one difference.

“I don’t think I could picture this building burning down. I think people would actually knock on your doors” if it did, she said. “On Blake Street, they just ran out of the building.”

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Revisiting the top stories of 2013

The Sun Journal staff writers and photographers have updated the top stories in our communities.


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