LEWISTON — Lewiston firefighters were busy battling blazes Monday evening — clearing one scene on Oxford Street only to head to another at Blake Street Towers.
The second fire was reported at 70 Blake St. at 6:44 p.m., just as firefighters were clearing an earlier scene. Lewiston fire Capt. Wallace Veilleux said the blaze was actually reported by a firefighter at Central Station on College Street who noticed smoke rising from the roof of the building.
Veilleux said the fire broke out in a metal dumpster in the ground-floor boiler room of the building, and smoke spread quickly up the metal garbage chute, pouring out the chimney and into the downtown neighborhood. He said the fire was not mechanical in nature or due to any malfunction with the trash compactor.
Veilleux said firefighters disconnected the dumpster from the industrial trash compactor and moved it outside to extinguish the blaze. No other damage was reported at the building. Although heavy smoke was reported throughout the neighborhood, Veilleux said there was little smoke damage inside of the building because much of the smoke was contained to the metal trash chute.
Lewiston fire investigator Paul Ouellette was on scene Monday night and said the blaze was most likely started by someone improperly disposing of something burning down the trash chute.
Located next door to the Lewiston Housing Authority, the building is listed on the Maine 211 site as subsidized rental housing for persons who are elderly, veterans, disabled or handicapped.
Veilleux said firefighters discovered a broken fire hydrant at College and Blake streets while attempting to battle the fire. He said the hydrant will be added to a list of out-of-service hydrants updated weekly by the department. Monday's broken hydrant brings the total up to eight citywide, he said.
Firefighters cleared the scene shortly before 8 p.m.