Early reports were that the fire was in the elevator shaft between floors. Firefighters working on both sides of the building and on the roof were attempting to get to the flames to snuff them out.
Crews working from the alley behind the building, near DaVinci's Eatery, encountered heat and smoke as they pressed into the building. A haze of smoke hung over the mill, visible from Lincoln Street on one side and from Canal Street on the other.
The blaze seemed to be centered in the area directly above the museum. By early Wednesday, it was unknown whether the museum or its contents were in jeopardy from fire, heat, smoke or water.
Auburn fire crews joined the effort before midnight. Lewiston Fire Investigator Paul Ouellette was sent to the scene. At about midnight, he was waiting to begin searching for a cause.
A Lewiston fire fighter prepares to battle a blaze inside an elevator shaft at the Bates Mill Complex late Tuesday night.
- Amber Waterman/Sun Journal