May 1, 2013

Lewiston fire started in condemned building

Most of the nine units were still occupied despite city efforts to get people to leave.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Spectators watch demolition efforts Tuesday at the scene of the fire that heavily damaged three apartment buildings Monday in Lewiston.

John Patriquin/StaffPhotographer

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Lewiston fire officials and state fire marshals begin to investigate the scene of a fire that destroyed three apartment buildings in Lewiston on Monday.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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The resident had been the subject of other calls for inspectors, and allegedly would toss garbage and heavy objects out of windows and off the building’s porch, according to Maynard and documents provided by the city.

Once inside, inspectors found unsuitable living conditions, including damage done to the building’s fire protection equipment, according to an inspection report.

Lombard, who lived in the apartment on a Section 8 voucher for four years, had questioned her living conditions before.

In March 2011, Lombard was awarded $2,919.01 by Lewiston District Court Judge E. Mary Kelly after Lombard brought a civil case against the property manager for an unchecked infestation of cockroaches, bedbugs and pigeons, according to court records.

Watkins did not hire a licensed exterminator despite being notified about the problem, the judge found. He failed to appear in court, and a default judgment was issued in Lombard’s favor, awarding her damages for ruined bedding and furniture.

On Tuesday, Lombard sat on a stoop near the still-smoldering remains of her former home. She said she was frustrated with the bank’s attempt to extract $15,000 in back rent, although the judge in her suit had ordered that her rent cost be eliminated until the problem was corrected.

“I just want this to be over,” she said. “I want my life back.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at mbyrne@mainetoday.com

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