AUGUSTA

Three families homeless after apartment house fire

A fire chased three families out of an apartment building on Hospital Street on Friday afternoon, but no one was injured.

Augusta Fire Department Battalion Chief Ed Charles said the state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating how and where the fire started in the four-unit building at 208 Hospital St.

The fire was reported at 2:43 p.m. and was burning strong when firefighters arrived five minutes later.

“I’m not sure how that got past everyone that was driving up and down the highway,” he said. “When we got there, there was fire showing over the top of the roof.”

Hallowell resident William Bowden, who owns the building, said he bought it four years ago and had put in a new roof and windows. Three of the units were occupied, and he planned to renovate the empty apartment so he and his wife could downsize by moving in.

“I’ve been a landlord for 35 years, and this is the first fire,” Bowden said. “I’ve never had to deal with anything like this.”

Bowden said he believes that residents of all three occupied apartments were home when the fire started. They all made it out safely.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Website lets residents keep abreast of bridge project

A new website will keep residents updated on the replacement of a bridge linking Maine and New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire and Maine departments of transportation have created www.memorialbridge project.com, which includes information regarding the design and construction process and timeline of the new Memorial Bridge that is being built over the Piscataqua River connecting Portsmouth, N.H., and Kittery, Maine.

The project’s outreach coordinator, Jennifer Zorn, tells the Portsmouth Herald the site will also include a history of the old bridge and interactive mapping.

Demolition of the old bridge is now under way. It was closed to vehicles last July after it was determined to be unsafe. The new bridge is scheduled to open in 2013.

DURHAM, N.H.

UNH to offer online program to earn MBA in two years

The University of New Hampshire will begin offering an online master’s in business administration program in the fall, allowing established professionals to earn an advanced degree anywhere at any time.

The new degree program at the university’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics is the state’s only online MBA program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Online courses will be taught by UNH faculty and will follow a five-term schedule that will allow students to complete their MBA in two years. Students enrolled in either the part-time or online programs will be able to take any or all courses either online or face-to-face in Durham or Manchester.

Students in the full-time and executive MBA programs will not be eligible for online courses.

IPSWICH, Mass.

Minke that washed up dead may have tangled with gear

Scientists are trying to figure out what killed a minke whale whose carcass washed up on Crane Beach in Ipswich.

The New England Aquarium says the dark grey whale shows evidence of possible entanglement in fishing gear and had some unusual wounds in its mouth.

Experts said Saturday that the nearly 24-foot whale had probably been dead three to four days.

It washed up ashore Friday with significant cuts on its body and ulcerations in its mouth. A full necropsy was scheduled for Saturday to determine a specific cause of death.

Minkes grow up to 30 feet long and are smallest of the three species seen most often by New England whale watchers, along with humpbacks and finbacks.

Minkes are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

— From staff and news services