LEWISTON — A family escaped to their vehicle with a dog early Christmas Eve after flames rousted them from their home on Webber Avenue.

Fire crews were called at about 2 a.m. Friday when flames were reported inside the home at 327 Webber Ave., between Pleasant and Imelda streets.

When the first fire crews arrived, they found smoke coming from the single-family home, and the occupants huddled in a car to escape the 14-degree cold.

Fire crews had the blaze knocked down in less than an hour, and when the smoke cleared, there were some silver linings to be found within the ashes.

“Yes, a fire on Christmas Eve is very sad to happen to anyone,” said Lewiston Fire Inspector Paul Ouellette. “However, this one had a happier ending. The Christmas gifts were saved — covered and protected from any damages by the firefighters. The fire was contained to that one room with no further damage to the rest of the structure, except for some water leaking into the living room and one first-floor bedroom ceiling areas directly below the above fire area.”

There’s more good news.


“Partial power was restored to the house, to include heat and hot water and the refrigerator,” Ouellette went on. “No injuries were reported. The homeowner discovered the fire and got everyone out, including the pet dog, safely. They are insured. The Red Cross was called in to assist while some repairs are made to the home to make it livable again.”

The people who live in the home were expected to be able to return.

The cause? The second case of spontaneous combustion in Lewiston this week.

The fire originated in one of the second-floor attic bedrooms that was being renovated, said Ouellette. The property was purchased just two weeks ago. The cause of the fire was improperly disposed of oil-based staining rags in a trash bag that spontaneously combusted.

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