August 15, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTLAND

All residents get out safely as fire damages third floor

A two-alarm fire heavily damaged the top story of a three-story apartment building on Grant Street Wednesday afternoon.

Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria said all residents of the 19-unit building at 129 Grant St. got out of the building unharmed when the fire started shortly after 3 p.m.

He said it started either on the top floor or in a small attic space above the third story. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The fire spread smoke over a large area of the densely populated Parkside neighborhood.

Flames were still visible coming through the roof about a half-hour after it started, but firefighters had it knocked down by 4 p.m.

Dan Hoffman, the owner of the building and two adjacent buildings, said 40 tenants lived at 129 Grant St.

Both Hoffman and LaMoria said the building's smoke detectors appeared to work and several tenants said they heard alarms going off.

Red Cross officials would help tenants find housing, LaMoria said. 

Michaud staff confirms he'll announce for governor

Democratic U.S. Rep Mike Michaud ended speculation about his run for governor Wednesday when his campaign confirmed that he's entering the campaign with a formal announcement Thursday in Lewiston.

The five-term congressman, who has said he wants to restore civility to the Maine State House, has been raising money to challenge Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who's seeking re-election. Also in the race is independent Eliot Cutler, who lost a close race to LePage in 2010.

Michaud had no comment Wednesday, saving his remarks for a noon rally Thursday at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, a Democratic stronghold.

The formal announcement sets up a three-way race between Cutler, LePage and a Democrat, the same scenario that propelled LePage to victory in the last election.

Michaud faces a primary challenge from Steve Woods, a Democratic businessman and Town Council chairman in Yarmouth. 

Faulty indicator suspected in plane's emergency landing

A commercial airplane carrying 62 passengers landed without incident Wednesday at the Portland International Jetport after the pilot radioed ahead with concerns about the plane's nose gear.

Airport Director Paul Bradbury says the airport received a call at 11:14 a.m. from the pilot of United Airlines flight 4898 from Newark, N.J.

He says airport emergency response vehicles were ready when the plane landed at 11:18 a.m., but that there weren't any problems. Nobody was injured.

Bradbury says United Airways will inspect the plane, and that it's possible the plane might have had a faulty indicator.

Meeting to give information on new insurance exchanges

The Maine Bureau of Insurance will hold an informational session Thursday to explain how the new exchanges, where individuals can buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, will work.

The exchanges will offer subsidized health plans for sale to individuals and families.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Talbot lecture hall, on the first floor of Luther Bonney Hall, at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

SOUTH PORTLAND

Pedestrian hit by vehicle while crossing Cottage Road

A 53-year-old woman was hit by a Jeep Liberty while crossing Cottage Road on foot Wednesday evening.

South Portland police Lt. Tom Simonds said Iman Pigg of Cape Elizabeth was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Police are looking into the possibility thatthe Jeep’s driver, 55-year-old Owen Harney of Cape Elizabeth, was blind by the sun, Simonds said. He said there was no indication that he saw Pigg.

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