UPDATED: Island View 3-Alarm Fire Sends Five to Area Hospitals; One Critical


A Closeup of One of the Rental Townhouses at Island View Destroyed in the Early Morning Fire.  The Cause of the Fire is Under Investigation.

The Back of the Same Townhouse Destroyed in the 3-Alarm Fire at Island View Apartments, 151 North Street.

Early this morning Portland firefighters responded to Island View Apartments, 151 North Street on Munjoy Hill, for a reported garage fire extending into a building.  Firefighters from the nearby Munjoy Hill Station arrived within minutes and found heavy fire at the rear of the building.

Crews worked aggressively to contain the main body of fire to the original fire building.  Several neighboring buildings had to be evacuated by firefighters as a precaution. A second alarm was struck on arrival followed by a third alarm bringing all on duty Portland firefighters to the scene.  Portland firefighters transported a total of five patients to area hospitals and one is listed in critical condition at Maine Medical Center, Portland according to a press release issued by Captain John Brennan, of the Portland Fire Department. Smoke inhalation was the primary cause for medical assistance.

Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the original fire building, but that building is a total loss.  Firefighting efforts were assisted by the building’s fire wall which helped keep the fire from spreading to the exposed townhouses adjoining this one.

The American Red Cross responded to the scene and is working with those displaced by this fire.  Numerous mutual aid fire departments responded into the city to staff empty Portland firehouses and those crews answered numerous other invidents unrelated to the North Street fire.

“Smoke was bellowing out of the roof and flames were shooting out of the roof.  It was a very scary sight,” said Dorothy Redding, a long-time resident of nearby Walnut Street.  She watched the 3-alarm fire from her home beginning at about 3:30 am until 6:00 am.  Then she went to bed.  “I was exhausted,” she said.  The streets were jammed with ambulances and firetrucks she said. Tristan Lerner, who moved into Island View just three weeks ago did not see the fire.   But as Lerner was leaving his apartment in the main building at 5:30 am, he saw that the parking lot was covered with water.

This sprawling development was constructed in 2002.  There is a main building that contains up to three bedroom rental units.  There is also a row of townhouses along North Street rented to those needing different accommodtions than provided in the main building.  Some neighbors were opposed to its original construction.  One of the more vocal opponents of the development was now deceased and former city councilor Will Gorham.  A resident and home owner on North Street, he argued against Island View citing the traffic issues that would ensue with the addition of more cars on North Street.  He lost his cause.  Island View was built and the traffic snarls Gorham predicted never materialized.

The Portland Fire Investigation Team responded to the scene and the fire is currently “under investigation.”  Fire crews cleared the scene around 8:15 am.

(This blogger lives very close to Island View Apartments on North Street, the scene of the early morning fire. My power was cut off around 3:30 am and restored about 5:00 am this morning.  Now I know the reason for this disruption of power, athough this blogger did not know at the time.  Fortunately, residents of my building did not need to be evacuated).