LEWISTON — Improperly disposed smoking materials were to blame for a porch fire that drove two families from their home Monday evening.

Lewiston firefighters worked quickly to knock down the second-story fire that broke out around 9 p.m. at 197 Pine St.

Ashley Burnham said she was home preparing dinner with her brother and father, David, when neighbors from across the street alerted them to smoke pouring off their porch.

By the time she went to investigate the cause of the smoke, Burnham said there were flames showing. “We splashed it with water until the Fire Department got here,” she said.

Crews ripped the front off the porch and tore into the joists between the first and second floor to knock down remaining hot spots. By 9:15 p.m., they were putting gear away and the fire investigator was on scene.

“I just came home and I see people from across the street running over,” first-floor resident Warren Mongo said. That was when he was told his home of little over a month was on fire.

Mongo said he ran through the first-floor apartment to alert Natasha Cerrato and her two-year-old son. The two stood outside watching the firefighters with young Deone wrapped in a blanket.

After inspecting the structure, Fire Investigator Paul Ouellette interviewed the residents and spoke with landlord Don Fletcher.

Ouellette said in the process of interviewing David Burnham, who said he was out smoking on the porch — the cause of the fire.

“It’s why we have insurance,” Ouellette said, “it’s one of those deals where it’s happened, we fix it and move on.”

The porch was taped off and residents were allowed to re-enter their apartments for the night.

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