Another round of fires in Lewiston has residents on edge
LEWISTON (WGME) -- Fire victims and neighbors of Thursday's fires in Lewiston tell us they're worried another arsonist may be responsible. One fire victim says this fire on Howe Street "Was just flames from the bottom to the top of the roof." Fire victim Katie Thibodeau says "I just held my breath for the longest time. But it didn't work. I had to gasp for air and that's when the smoke went into my lungs." Her boyfriend ended up carrying her out of the burning apartment building.
Witnesses say when they first saw the fire, it was all on the outside this building. George West says "In my opinion, it was arson. Cause it was all only on the outside. How does a building start a fire on the outside?" Authorities say at least two of the four fires were deliberately set, and arson investigators are checking to see about the other two fires. Fire victim Leona Agulier says "People don't deserve to get burned out."
On Thursday, many of the victims of this fire on Howe street were at a shelter set up by the Red Cross at Bates College. Many lost all their belongings in this fire. They couldn't help but think of those three huge arson fires a year ago that destroyed several apartment buildings that were home to dozens of families and hundreds of people. Fire victim Preston Tebbetts says "I understand everyone's pain now that it's happened to me."
Preston's brother Parker Tebbetts says "It happened last summer and that was already bad enough. Happening again will just ... it just needs to be dealt with." Leona Agulier told me wasn't sure she was going to escape the fire. Agulier says "I'm glad everyone did get out safe. And I'm glad I got out safe, too. It was hard for me to walk down those steps, but I did it. You gotta do what you gotta do to save yourself."
But it meant leaving her motorized wheelchair behind. She thought it was destroyed in the fire, until firefighters went inside, got it, and brought it to her. Agulier says "I can't go nowhere without my chair, cause I can't walk that good." As for the possibility of this being the work of another arsonist in Lewiston, Agulier didn't even want to think about that. Agulier says "I'm saying 'Oh God, no. I hope not.' I hate fire. I'm scared of fire."
For a look back out our coverage of the 2013 Lewiston fires, CLICK HERE