Smoke inhalation killed Portland homeless man in fire

Posted April 08, 2013, at 10:23 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A homeless man died of smoke inhalation just before midnight Saturday when the tent he was using for shelter along the railroad tracks on West Commercial Street caught fire, Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Monday.

“Fire investigators, working with the Portland Fire Department, determined that the victim is believed to be Brian Barbour, whose last known address was on India Street in Portland,” he said. “Investigators say a candle in Barbour’s tent likely started the fire, which was reported about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night.”

Barbour was 53.

Fire marshal’s office investigators determined the fire was accidental. An autopsy performed Sunday by the state medical examiner’s office determined smoke from the fire killed the homeless man.

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said in a news release issued Sunday afternoon that Barbour’s death is the second fatal fire in the city this year.

“As the fire was being extinguished, fire crews located the badly burned body of an adult male,” Clegg said. “The fire, which was quickly extinguished, destroyed a tent, multiple personal belongings and scorched a small area of woods.”

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