By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,299)
Picking up the pieces from the demolition that began yesterday morning at 22-24 Noyes Street and loading them into four 100 yd. trucks was the focus of a crew all day today. The clean-up is expected to be completed on Monday, February 9th sometime. Greg Nisbet. owner of the property, contracted a construction company to demolish his property – the scene of a fire in which six young adults lost their lives on November 1, 2014. The fire broke-out the morning following a Halloween Party. Some have denied there was a party the evening of October 31, 2014 and the evening was no different from any other.
Well-known to the stunned community are the names and the faces of those whose lives were lost in the blaze or days later that made national news. A particularly heart wrenching story was the one of Steven Summers, 29 who was visiting a friend at the party house for the Halloween Party the evening of October 3lst. Summers, a Navy veteran, died days later from his burns at a Boston Hospital.
However, sources close to the situation say that Summner and his now widow Ashley, were long separated and lived apart. (The couple had two young daughters.) Steven was living with a girlfriend at the Noyes Street property and Ashley was in a similar relationship in Rockland at the time of the fire. She recently moved to Topsham, closer to her job in Bath. An attorney for Ashley filed a lawsuit against Nisbet immediately following the fire for over $1 M. Ashley did not respond to several emails from mhn.com for comment on this information.
A fire task force was formed in the afternath of the fire by Portland’s Acting City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian. During that series of meetings it was revealed that the Potland Fire Department had stopped its inspection of rental units in Portland to focus on other priorities. However, the Noyes Street property was a 2-unit building which would have been exempted from the city’s inspection p;rogram since only 3-unit plus buildings are normally inspected. The fire task force appears to favor the inspection of all rental units when it resumes inspections sometime this sprnig.
The task force will present its recommendations to a city committee on Tuesday, February 10th at 5:30 pm. Councilor Ed Suslovic is chair of the Public Safety Committee. One of the recommendations is the establishment of an office at city hall, for which new staff will have to be hired – that is if the city council agrees with the recommendation.