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Lewiston fire leaves 13 homeless

More than a dozen people were left homeless following a fire at an apartment building in Lewiston. (WGME)

LEWISTON (WGME) --Investigators say the improper taping of a water pipe caused a fire in Lewiston over the weekend.

The fire started around 1 p.m. Sunday at an apartment building on Walnut Street.

The Lewiston Fire Department says it displaced 13 people who lived on the third floor.

Investigators say the fire started in an enclosed porch that was being used as a laundry room.

They say a pipe in the room had frozen and heat tape left on the pipe caused the fire.

Investigators say while heat tape can be a safe way to keep your pipes from freezing, it has to be used properly.

“If you're going to be heating pipes with no water in them make sure you unplug them but as far as uses make sure no combustible material is near heat tapes. Make sure you use proper material as it’s listed and make sure you don't overload them, and keep an eye on them,” Paul Ouellette, fire investigator, Lewiston, said.

The Red Cross is assisting the three families affected by the fire. There's no word yet on when they will be able to return.

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