LEWISTON — An 8-month-old child was carried to safety late Wednesday as flames ripped through a second-floor apartment on Spring Street.

The infant and five others escaped the burning building at 48 Spring St. as flames and smoke began pouring from the upper floors at about 11 p.m.

“It happened so quick,” said Cathy Bryant, who lives on the first floor.

She was sound asleep, she said, when a neighbor from an upper floor — the child’s grandmother — began pounding on her door.

“She was saying, ‘Get out, get out! It’s on fire!'” Bryant said.

She was able to pull shoes on her feet, Bryant said, but her boyfriend, Terry, had to scoop up his black Labrador retriever and flee the burning building in his stocking feet.

“We were lucky to get out with what we’ve got,” Terry said. “I can’t believe how quick it happened.”

While firefighters battled the flames, Bryant and other tenants, including a 13-year-old girl, huddled inside a truck in a parking lot across the street.

By 11:45 p.m., flames had burned into loft space between the second and third floors. Flames could be seen burning along the right side of the two-and-a-half story apartment house.

“It’s so scary,” said Barbara Rundlett, who lives nearby. “I’m just glad everybody is all right.”

The first police officers on the scene reported fire and heavy smoke rolling out the second-story windows. After calling for a list of tenants, police and fire crews learned there was a baby living in one of the apartments. Several tense minutes passed before it was confirmed that the baby and all others had escaped unharmed.

As the fire continued to tear through the building, smoke could be seen — and smelled — in downtown Lewiston. Police blocked off traffic to Spring Street as firefighters continued to battle the flames, from the ground and from ladder trucks.

Central Maine Power shut off electricity to the building. Shortly before midnight, a hazardous materials team arrived on Spring Street.

The American Red Cross also had representatives on scene within minutes of the first reports of fire.

As Bryant and her boyfriend watched from the parking lot, it occurred to them that they might lose everything, including Cathy’s antiques and Terry’s family photos from the Civil War, before the flames were brought under control.

“I don’t even want to watch right now,” said Bryant, a school bus driver.

At 1:30 a.m., fire crews were still at the scene snuffing out hot spots. Lewiston Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette was also on Spring Street, interviewing witnesses and preparing to begin searching for a cause.

Lewiston firefighters battle a fire at 48 Spring St. on Wednesday night. No one was injured in the blaze. 

A Lewiston firefighter sticks his head out of a burning window of a dormer on the third floor of the building at 48 Spring Street in Lewiston late Wednesday night.

Lewiston firefighters battle a fire at 48 Spring St. on Wednesday night. No one was injured in the blaze.

Lewiston firefighters communicate at the fire scene on Spring Street on Wednesday night. 

A fire burns at the back edge of 48 Spring Street in Lewiston late Wednesday night.


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