By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,219)
The names of the five victims of the 3-alarm Saturday mornng fire were revealed by Fire Department Chief Jerry LaMoira at a press conference late this afternoon at city hall. The fire occurred early Saturday morning at 20-24 Noyes Street, near the University of Southern Maine campus.
They are: David Bragdon, Jr., 27, tenant of the building; Ashley Thomas, 29, tenant of the building; Christopher Conlee, 25, Portland (non-tenant); Maelisha Jackson, 26, Topsham (non-tenant). The fifth victim is believed to be Nicole Finlay, 26, tenant of the building. The Medical Examiner is still in the process of making a final confirmation on this identification.
The survivor who was severely burned, Steven Summers, 29, of Rockland, was visiting friends at the house, is still being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Seven other tenants did manage to escape safely from the buildilng.
Chief LaMoira said that the city cannot release inspection records for the building because they are a part of the ongoing investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which could result in a criminal investigation. The building is owned by real estate agent Greg Nisbet, Downeast Realty, in South Portland. He owns 3 or 4 other rental buildings in the area where he also lives. It is not known whether or not he has hired an attorney.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and firearms was called in to assist in the investigation to determine how this tragedy occurred. ATF presence is typical with fires of this severity and number of fatalities. The State Fire Marshal’s office is still conducting its investigation to determine a cause.
Chief LaMoira said that 3,000 lives are lost in residential fires every year. He urged everyone to be sure that fire detectors are in working order with batteries that are working.