Homeless Man Dies in Fire on West Commercial Street


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,330)

Just before midnight on Saturday, April 6th, Portland fire crews responded to West Commercial Street for a fire along the railroad tracks.  As the fire was being extinguished, fire crews located the badly burned body of an adult man.  The fire, which was quickly extinguished, destroyed a tent, multiple personal belongings and scorched a small area of woods.  That section of Commercial Street has long been reputed to be a haven for homeless people, particularly around the Bridge.  The identify of the victim is not yet available.

There were two other fires on Saturday, with no injuries reported.  The first occurred at 2:30 pm.  Several fire companies responded to a large woods fire in the area of Evergreen Cemetery.   About 20 firefighters  worked to extinguish the fire, which represented almost half of the firefighters on duty that day.  The fire scorched several acres of woods at Evergreen.

Just before 5 pm, a 911 call reported smoke coming from the roof of 29 Grant Street; seven fire companies responded.   A malfunctioning furnace was the cause releasing extremely dangerous carbon monoxide levels into the building and  required the initial evacuation of the 3-story multi-family residence.  Fire units operated for nearly an hour to safely evacuate the residents and secure the malfunctioning furnace and ventilate the building.  Once air monitoring of the building confirmed safe levels, the occupants were allowed to reoccupy.