March 18, 2010

Man charged with murder in Portland fire

By DAVID HENCH and ANN S. KIM, Staff Writers

Updated at 11:45 a.m. with location of arrest, other details.

PORTLAND -- Police today arrested Chad Gurney, 27, of Portland on charges of murder and arson in connection with a fire and homicide at 463 Cumberland Ave. Monday night.

Gurney was taken into custody at 5 a.m. today at the Crest Motel on East Grand Avenue in Old Orchard Beach.

Gurney is charged with killing a woman and then setting the fire at 463 Cumberland Ave. in Portland. Police did not release the identity of the victim pending notification of relatives.

An autopsy is being performed by state medical examiner. Police would not describe the nature of the victim's injuries other than to say she had signs of trauma that were inconsistent with a fire-related death.

Gurney is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

10:56 a.m.

PORTLAND -- Portland police charged a 27-year-old man with murder today in connection with a fatal fire Monday night.

Police have scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today at the Portland police station to discuss the fire and homicide at 463 Cumberland Ave.

Police charged Chad Gurney of 463 Cumberland Ave. with murder. He is in custody at the Cumberland County Jail.

Police have not released any details about the incident, what Gurney is accused of doing, or the name of the deceased

Firefighters extinguished the fire in the three-story brick building in about 10 minutes, but investigators were still at the scene nearly five hours after smoke was first reported, around 6:35 p.m. Monday night.

1 a.m.

PORTLAND — Firefighters, police and the state Fire Marshal’s Office investigated a fatal fire that broke out in an apartment building Monday night on Cumberland Avenue.

One person was found dead inside the building at 463 Cumberland Ave., said Portland Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne. The person’s identity had not been released late Monday night.

“We haven’t gotten to that point in the investigation,” he said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in about 10 minutes, LaMontagne said. But investigators were still at the scene nearly five hours after smoke was first reported, around 6:35 p.m.

Firefighters blocked off most of Cumberland Avenue between High Street and State Street, and a police crime scene unit truck was parked in front of the three-story brick building. LaMontagne said the area was cordoned off primarily because of the emergency vehicles, not because of a threat to the area.

A special-hazards truck from the Fire Department arrived around 10:50 p.m., but LaMontagne said it was brought in for its lights.

LaMontagne said he could not say where in the building the fire started. He said the process was taking time because of the need to get permission to enter various spaces.

One firefighter was treated for a leg injury and released, LaMontagne said.

Staff Writer Ann Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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