LEWISTON — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has honored the Lewiston Fire Department for its actions during a string of arson fires this past spring.

The Republican senator from Maine recently visited the department to present Chief Paul LeClair with a copy of the statement she read in Congress commending the firefighters. She also gave the department a flag that had flown above the U.S. Capitol.

Three major fires in one week in Lewiston in May destroyed nine apartment buildings, damaged others, left more than 180 people homeless and lead to a crackdown on abandoned and neglected apartment houses in this former mill city.

In her statement, Collins says the firefighters “answered those cruel attacks with skill and courage” and “saved their city with no loss of life or serious injury.”