LEWISTON — Lewiston fighters responded to smoke coming from an old wooden structure over the canal at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The smoke turned out to be a pile of rags several feet tall that were smoldering.

I have no idea how,” said Lewiston Fire Department Capt. Wallace Veilleux. It was unclear whether the fire was set or was spontaneous combustion, he said.

The vacant structure near the Continental Mill used to be owned by Union Water Power and sits over the canal near Oxford Street, not far from Simard/Payne Memorial Park, where Saturday’s Brewfest was held.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire but put themselves at risk doing so. The floors of the structure are rotten,” Veilleux said. “The stuff is old. Access was very tricky.”

If the smoke hadn’t been seen right away, the building would have burned and fallen into the canal, Veilleux said, adding that the structure is not connected to any other building.

The fire was under investigation.

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