Ezra Emmert hauls a piece of plywood Friday morning toward 112 Court St. in Auburn. He was working for property manager Richard Leyland to secure the building after Thursday’s fire that displaced the tenants of two apartments. They had just finished fixing windows, siding and the roof on the property next door, which was damaged by the fire. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — The five tenants from the burned out building at 112 Court St. were being assisted by the American Red Cross on Friday as fire investigators continued to search for a cause.

Fire officials said damage to the second and third floors of the 2½-story brick building was extensive after flames tore through a rear porch and into the upper part of the building about 1 p.m. Thursday.

The tenants did not have renters insurance. Some of them were able to gather belongings before they fled Thursday afternoon. Some animals were saved, including a cat firefighters plucked off the roof of the historic home.

The cause of the fire was being investigated by Auburn fire and police departments. Some neighbors reported hearing a pop — or a pair of them — shortly before the building went up in flames. Others reported hearing arguing at the building in the minutes before flames engulfed the porch.

The home sits on a hill between Pleasant and High streets. To access it, fire crews had to attack from a driveway on the Pleasant Street side.

Fire officials said the first crew from the South Main Street station was able to extinguish most of the fire soon after arriving. However, more difficulties arose once the flames burned into the attic area.

Additional assistance was requested on-scene to support the operation due to the extreme heat and humidity. Lewiston, Poland and New Gloucester fire departments and United Ambulance Service assisted.

Although firefighters were working in near 90-degree heat and thick humidity, no injuries were reported.

In addition to the on-scene mutual aid, Oxford, Durham and Turner provided coverage for Auburn. Other assistance was provided by the Lewiston/Auburn 911 Center, Auburn Police Department, Auburn Public Works, Auburn Water/Sewer, City of Auburn Electrical Division and Unitil Gas Co.

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