LEWISTON — John Goddard flipped on the television and had started to eat dinner when his dog, Abby, started barking — a lot.

“Abby kept barking toward the back door, out through the hall in the upstairs living room,” Goddard said. “She kept barking and I thought maybe somebody broke in. She was going really crazy. I looked — and it was all black.”

Goddard escaped his home at 31 Pettingill St. in Lewiston on Tuesday evening before flames engulfed the back half of the building. Lewiston and Auburn firefighters worked quickly once they reached the scene to put out the fire.

No one was hurt in the early-evening blaze, and no cause had been determined.

Goddard sat across the street on his neighbor’s front steps, holding Abby on her leash as she played with other neighbors.

“I put the TV on pause and she was just going so crazy,” Goddard said. “I thought someone had broken in.”

Once he ran downstairs and saw flames, Goddard grabbed his dog’s harness, ran back upstairs to get her and rushed out the front door, just as neighbors were knocking to alert him.

“I had a can of gas on the porch from the snowblower, and I was afraid that was going to go, so I grabbed her stuff and ran back upstairs,” Goddard said, “and by that point, the smoke was about this close to the floor. I said, ‘That’s it, you’re coming with me,’ and we got the hell out of there.

“After I grabbed her, there were people knocking at my door, so I unlocked it,” Goddard said. “I wanted to call 911, but I just couldn’t even think of the number.”

Goddard’s neighbor, Jeanne Melanson, said she saw the field out back on fire and thought it was a bonfire.

“Then I saw it coming from the back of the house,” she said. “It just went so quick. I’m just so glad they’re out safe.”

Lewiston Fire Chief Paul LeClair said the fire was called in at 6:33 p.m. Backup was called as soon as the first responders made it to the scene.

“We were able to contain and control the fire within an hour,” he said. “All five on-duty fire units” were on scene to knock down the flames.

LeClair said firefighters started with an exterior attack on the back of the house, where the base of the fire was. Once the flames were contained outside, firefighters attacked the interior of the building, focusing on the upper rear and attic.

The American Red Cross was called in to help Goddard with accommodations, Leclair said.

Chief Photographer Russ Dillingham contributed to this report.


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