UPDATE: Fire started on couch where Lewiston woman was smoking

LEWISTON — A woman was pulled out of a burning apartment on Shawmut Street after flames tore through the building at about 8 p.m. Thursday.

The woman, described by neighbors as elderly, was unresponsive as firefighters carried her out of the first floor apartment at 61 Shawmut St. She was taken to a Lewiston hospital where two hours after the blaze, she was still being treated for smoke inhalation and possible other injuries.

Neighbors believed the woman lived alone in the apartment. They said she was not moving as she was carried to an ambulance.

Fire crews were called to the apartment house when neighbors reported smoke coming from the first floor. The first police officer on the scene reported heavy smoke and when fire crews entered, they found fire beneath the floor.

Firefighters were battling the flames when they discovered that a woman was still inside the apartment.

The blaze brought dozens of onlookers, who stood watching crews battle the second apartment fire on the same block within a couple of hours.

Police cordoned off a section of Shawmut Street, near Pine Street, as crews fought the fire and an investigation began.

A man and a woman were seen crying and embracing each other outside the burning apartment. Their relation to the tenant was not immediately known. They were speaking to police later Thursday.

Lewiston police investigator Ryan Coleman was at the scene. He was leaving the scene of an earlier fire, at 164 Pine St., when the call came in of a fire at 61 Shawmut St.

Coleman was joined at the scene by Lewiston fire Inspector Paul Ouellette and an investigator from the State Fire Marshal’s Office. By 10 p.m., they were still inside the burned building searching for a cause.

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