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Community supports victims of fatal Lewiston Fire

The cause of the fire that ripped through an apartment on Blake Street is still unknown. Organizations are now working to support dozens who lost their homes.

LEWISTON, Maine — Organizations across Lewiston and Maine are working to support dozens displaced after a fire that ripped through an apartment building on Blake Street in Lewiston on Saturday. 

The fire began at the apartment building at 226 Blake St. in Lewiston Saturday at 4:44 p.m. It is a six story, ten-unit apartment building.

According to State Police, 70-year old Felicien K. Betu died from injuries as a result of jumping out of a window on the top floor, attempting to escape the fire. No other residents of the building were injured. Everyone else was able to evacuate.

The state fire marshal's office was on scene Sunday investigating the fire for several hours. The cause of the fire has not been released at this time. 

Now, community members are rallying to support the dozens who lost their homes in the fire.

"We knew a lot of those individuals were waking up with basically nothing," said Kevin Boilard with Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry

Boilard says he opened the pantry to collect donations on Sunday. He says dozens of community members have donated everything from clothes and shoes, to Walmart and Shaw's gift cards.

"We thought it would be a good opportunity to allow any of the families that were impacted by the fire to come in to get free clothing, shoes, food. We've had several families come in already today to get multiple different resources from us," said Boilard.

Boilard says he will be open again on Monday to collect donations and provide free items to families impacted by the fire. 

Many of the victims of the fire are now staying at Lewiston High School, where the Red Cross has created a shelter for the victims.

Executive Director of the Central and Midcoast Maine Red Cross Nicole Evans said, "We are working to ensure that their immediate needs are met. And making sure they're comfortable. We have ages from infant and up."

According to Evans, roughly 40 people are currently utilizing the shelter, which can house up to 70. It is unknown how long the shelter will remain at the high school, however, Evans tells NEWS CENTER Maine it will not impact school for students.

"The Red Cross will be here for individuals and families as long as they need us," said Evans.

The Red Cross is accepting donations to support victims as well. 

IHOP in Auburn is also looking to support victims of the blaze. According to the restaurant's general manager, two servers lived in the apartment building that caught fire.

"We take care of everybody here as a family," said Auburn IHOP general manager Melvin Escobar. On Sunday at the restaurant, donations were being collected. Donations can also be given online through gofundme

NEWS CENTER Maine STORIES