June 20, 2018
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Investigators say electrical problem caused fire in Portland home

Seth Koenig | BDN
Seth Koenig | BDN
On Monday, Portland firefighters keep watch from the outside of 38 Columbia Road Monday, while others work through the structure to ensure the morning blaze remained extinguished.
By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — A Monday morning home fire in Portland that displaced two residents and attracted nearly 50 firefighters was caused by a faulty electrical circuit, Portland Fire Department investigators announced Tuesday.

One firefighter sustained a minor leg injury while battling the blaze at the 38 Columbia Road home, but neither of the two residents were hurt in the incident.

Portland Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria said 48 firefighters were called to the three-alarm fire, which damaged every level of the 2.5-story home.

On Tuesday, the department announced the fire was accidental in nature and started in an electrical circuit in the home. The blaze was reported at about 9 a.m. Monday, and it left the residence uninhabitable.

“Any improperly installed, maintained or overloaded electrical system could present fire hazards,” LaMoria said in a statement Tuesday. “Any electrical work should always be performed by a qualified and licensed electrician to ensure safety.”

According to the city assessor’s office, the 1,792-square-foot building was constructed in 1902 and owned by John McVeigh. The land and structure have been assessed at a taxable value of $211,000.

The two residents are being assisted in the aftermath of the incident by the American Red Cross and are staying with friends in the neighborhood, according to the Portland Fire Department.


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